VVA says Tell Your Agent Orange Stories and take Grassroots ACTION

As I finished up writing my last article on questions surrounding Agent Orange Outside of Boots On the Ground Vietnam, Rainbow Colored Chemical Agents on GUAM? http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/06/22/rainbow-colored-chemical-agents-on-guam/, an old article written by Mokie Porter of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) came to mind, and I dug it out of my stack of The VVA Veteran magazines.

Way back in the Oct/November 2009 time frame (that’s about seven months ago) Mokie raised several issues that are now beginning to bite VSOs in the butt.

His focus was on how the Ford Foundation was funding a study into how Agent Orange and related chemical poisons used in our Herbicide Warfare operations against Vietnam has been killing and maiming the Vietnamese from the time we began using chemical Herbicides as a weapon of warfare.

Mokie drew attention to how the focus of the funding for this effort excluded Vietnam Veterans and their families. As I understand it, VVA had no problem with any study to correct a wrong done the people of Vietnam, heck it was wartime after all. The problem was the exclusion of U.S. troops who fought there. We believe that until Veterans begin seriously organizing Agent Orange demonstrations and protests like these photos progress in resolving our AO issues and questions will continue at a snails pace.

However, more important rather than piss and moan about Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange getting any media coverage, Mokie proposed positive steps and solutions that Veterans needed to heed in order to get their stories and VOICE heard. That was seven months ago, old news?

WE DON’T THINK SO!

What exactly did Mokie say seven months ago that applies today?

Robert L. Hanafin, Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired, Veterans Today News Network

Don’t Wait For An Army to Die

Now, I’m not going to repeat the whole darn thing, folks can read it at the VVA link provided below. However, the point I want to reinforce is that I may have inferred that the VSOs are not doing anything on the questions surrounding Agent Orange outside Vietnam proper, and if I left anyone with that impression this is my way of saying the VSOs have been trying to get a handle on this for quite a while now.

I’ve only extracted the portions of Mokie’s article that I believe are most relevant today. You see my concern as a Life Member of DAV, and VVA, and despite criticism I hurl at VSO leadership (some deserved, some not), the reality is the our VSO representatives who go before the Congress to lobby for changes at the VA just simply cannot do it ALONE.

Without grassroots action that if nothing else poses a potential voter revolt against member of Congress, Senators and Congress critters are simply not going to take any Veteran serious, be it MSgts. Jackson and Foster who served on Guam and passionately believe they suffer for exposure to Agent Orange to Rick Weidmann in the leadership of VVA giving testimony before Congress, or Joe Wilson over at the Legion giving testimony. Without a potential voting bloc behind these guys, they are just urinating in the wind.

“If the Ford Foundation’s publicity campaign will focus exclusively on the plight of Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange, then Vietnam veterans need to launch their own grass-roots publicity campaign.” That’s the part that caught my eye. Then Mokie goes on to outline a game plan:

THE TASK AHEAD

“This is not just a VVA issue. VVA members, chapters, and state councils need to reach out and work with other Veterans’ organizations in their communities.
We [VVA] cannot allow Veterans to find out about their A/O exposure from the perspective of the Vietnamese victims. This is not about animosity toward Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange; it is a response to telling only one side of the story.
We [VVA] need real stories about real people.
Some have suggested holding veterans’ health forums at the chapter and state council levels. That’s a good way to get local media attention and a perfect forum to discuss the issue of A/O, as well as the host of illnesses and maladies associated with military service.
Veterans Today Editorial Comment: We are also entering the final stretch to the November 2010 Congressional elections, now is prime time to begin twisting the arms of endangered candidates of both parties to deliver on positive ACTION on Agent Orange exposure around the world, or they don’t get your Vote – PERIOD!
Now, back to Mokie,
“It is useful to have a nuts-and-bolts, how-to plan for this type of health forum. What we need is something that could be shared with other states and chapters, such as a checklist for organizers of local health forums, or a document that has tips for putting on a high-interest, high-attendance, high-media-coverage veterans health forum.
HERE COMES THE MOST IMPORTANT THING MOKIE HAD TO SAY IN 2009:
This is not just about the Vietnam War and Agent Orange; it is about all toxic exposures in all theaters of our recent wars, whether in Thailand, Eglin Air Force Base, Guam, Puerto Rico, Texas, the Gulf, Iraq, or Afghanistan. The larger lesson continues to be that the cost of war doesn’t end when the guns are silent. In fact, it takes a generational toll.
This effort is just getting started.  What works in one area may not work in another area. But sharing ideas, info, intel, and good stories is needed. Local initiative, local creativity, and local enthusiasm and energy will be essential.”
Thus, a few VSOs had already begun moving out on these concerns months ago, and I believe that with a little encouragement and grassroots support that may be lacking from VSO membership a SENSE OF URGENCY will follow that just might match the enthusiasm, energy, man power, and money thrown at and shown by VSOs for Flag Amendments and Stolen Valor Acts.
Until rank and file members of mainstream VSOs begin taking action such as the banner shown in this photo of a Veterans for Peace participation in a  Veterans Day Parade to get their message across that justice for America’s Veterans is patriotic regardless our other diverse views, nothing is going to change quick enough for Vets to outlive CHANGE.
If any readers know of any other VSO who has hit the streets in protest over Veterans Still Dying of Agent Orange, please let us know, and we will post the photo, but for now, we strongly advise that regardless the observance, including next Memorial Day, Veterans Day, the 4th of July, Armed Forces Day, Flag Day, ANY patriotic observance; it doesn’t have to be an anti-war or PEACE March,  you have got to stop complaining and start taking ACTION. Unless you do something about it that is an attention getter, you will never get attention.
Bobby Hanafin


The views expressed herein are the views of the author exclusively and not necessarily the views of VT, VT authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, technicians, or the Veterans Today Network and its assigns. LEGAL NOTICE - COMMENT POLICY

Posted by on June 22, 2010, With Reads Filed under Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

8 Responses to "VVA says Tell Your Agent Orange Stories and take Grassroots ACTION"

  1. indythinker  June 28, 2010 at 7:07 am

    PLEASE POST THIS LINK ON YOUR WEBSITES FOR SIGNATURES FOR THIS PETITION TO CONGRESS TO ACKNOWLEDGE AGENT ORANGE USED ON GUAM

    WE PETITION CONGRESS TO IMMEDIATELY ACKNOWLEDGE AGENT ORANGE USED ON GUAM

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/guamagentorange/email-friends?sent_to=1

    LeRoy G. Foster, MSgt, USAF, Ret
    Life Member of the DAV of New York State
    Member of the American Legion Post 777, Celeron, NY
    Member of the Vietnam Veterans of America

  2. Amy  June 25, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Amy,

    I’m sorry but I cannot allow this commentary on how Israel owns the United States, please understand not because I agree or disagree with you, but because it is so far off topic of rallying Veterans and Military Families to challenge our governments disgraceful treatment of those who go in harms way regardless the excuse or who influences decisions to go to war (the Israeli lobby comes to mind).

    However, I asked you to provide links to Mossod and Israel having undue influence over our National Security and Foreign Policy vs-a-vs the United states, so your response is really my fault, but Amy it does not belong here on this post.

    My area of responsibility on Veterans Today is two fold by priority (1) Veterans benefits and rights, and (2) the anti-war movement.

    The folks on our staff who focus on the undue influence the Israeli lobby, the nation or Israel, and Mossad has over America is Gordon Duff, and Jeff Gates.

    BTW, I’ve read and to a large degree concurs with the findings of Jeff’s Guilty by Association, so you are preaching to the choir. I simply don’t want to get distracted by beating up Israel even if the Zionist deserve it. As you know not all Zionist are Jewish, for there are right-wing extremist Christian Zionist.

    I respectfully asking you not to post criticism of Israel unless it is clearly related to my post. That said, you don’t have to prove anything to me about the undue influence of Israel in our foreign policy, and that any nation that spies on the United States cannot be TRUSTED.

    Bobby Hanafin

  3. Amy  June 25, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Robert Hanafin I am posting the following in 2 parts taken from Daily Paul. I will also give you more information later.

    Once again ditto my other concern about straying too far off topic. Though well intended, your comments have nothing to do with VVA says Tell Your Agent Orange Stories and take Grassroots ACTION”

    Bashing Israel, deserved or not, only serves to distract from this thread. The collective WE – Veterans already allow ourselves to be disunited and distracted by non-Veteran bread and butter issues that we create like the Flag Amendment to the Constitution, and the Stolen Valor Act. We frankly need no further distractions by bashing Israel.

    Amy please post our concerns about Israel in the foreign affairs section of Veterans Today not in the Veterans Service Organization section.

    I’ve been respectful about this twice now, but any future post bashing Israel will not be approved for posting on THIS TOPIC.

    Bobby Hanafin
    The Mustang Major

  4. Amy  June 25, 2010 at 11:02 am

    “This is not just about the Vietnam War and Agent Orange; it is about all toxic exposures in all theaters of our recent wars, whether in Thailand, Eglin Air Force Base, Guam, Puerto Rico, Texas, the Gulf, Iraq, or Afghanistan. The larger lesson continues to be that the cost of war doesn’t end when the guns are silent. In fact, it takes a generational toll.

    This effort is just getting started. What works in one area may not work in another area. But sharing ideas, info, intel, and good stories is needed. Local initiative, local creativity, and local enthusiasm and energy will be essential.”
    Thus, a few VSOs had already begun moving out on these concerns months ago, and I believe that with a little encouragement and grassroots support that may be lacking from VSO membership a SENSE OF URGENCY will follow that just might match the enthusiasm, energy, man power, and money thrown at and shown by VSOs for Flag Amendments and Stolen Valor Acts” says Bobby Hanafin.

  5. Amy  June 25, 2010 at 10:50 am

    I thank the author of this article. I thank Sharon Perry founder of Agent Orange Legacy organization and hope that this will reach a new level of success in 2010 and all future years to come.

    In the article “Camp Lejeune [NC] Informational Meetings” by Robert O’Dowd, VT 6/17/10, he informs us the following:

    “The Bell Legal Group sponsored two informational meetings for Camp Lejeune. Jerry Ensminger, a retired Marine Master Sergeant, spoke at the first meeting in NC and Mike Partain, a former Camp Lejeune dependent and male breast cancer survivor, spoke at second meeting here in Florida.

    According to Mike Partain, they were not really sure what to expect with these meetings or who would show. Based on their experiences at the two meetings, it is quite apparent that our Camp Lejeune community is in the dark as to what happened at the base. Partain and Ensminger plan to hold future meetings to spread the word to others.

    The water provided by the Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point distribution systems was highly contaminated with various chemicals, including the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) known as PCE (Tetrachloroethylene aka Perchloroethylene), TCE (Trichloroethylene), DCE (Dichloroethylene), Vinyl Chloride and BTEX (Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene).These chemicals are either known or suspected human carcinogens

    Many Marines, Sailors, their families and civilian employees have been affected by the contamination in various ways including, but not limited to: liver cancer, kidney cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, leukemia, non Hodgkins lymphoma, liver disease, miscarriages, birth defects (cleft palate, heart defects, Choanal atresia, neural tube defects, low birth weight, and small for gestational age),etc. Unfortunately, many of these families still have not been notified by the USMC of the danger from their exposure. In 1987 Camp Lejeune was recommended for listing as a Superfund site on the National Priorities List (NPL) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Camp Lejeune was officially listed as a Superfund site in 1989.

    Partain told us that the meetings are being held to provide critical information to the affected community, to spread the word and inform ourselves as to what really happened at Camp Lejeune.

    During the two previous meetings, Partain and Ensminger showed some of the key documents, explained what contaminated the water and where the contamination was found. They also discussed what the USMC knew about the contamination, when they knew it, and what they have reported/not reported to the affected community”

    Please read the full article and thank you for your support for those who are trying to bring this vital information to other military families.

    As you can see these criminals have engineered all different ways to harm our soldiers and veterans. Poisoning their water supply is just one of the plans. We know about Agent Orange and what it has done to our veterans. So many young soldiers are murdered and their murders covered up. Pat Tillman is among them. So many are killed in other ways. Roadside bombings, suicide bombers, military airplanes and helicopter crashes have killed them. It is time for people to stop blaming Muslims–and start pointing the blame precisely where it belongs.

    Veterans Today Editorial Comment:

    Amy, I thank you very much for the recognition you show in appreciating the many hours, communications, and data dump I’ve deal with both on my own and from people (Veterans and Families) desperate for somewhere to turn, someone to listen.

    I don’t try to let my own personal beliefs get in the way of doing a story, for instance thought not a pacifist, I’m currently anti-war, a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), Veterans for Peace (BFP), Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), and making myself available as an adviser to Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW).

    My own personal beliefs aside, common sense tells me that the only way to focus on dealing with how our government and corporations that profit off war treat Veterans and military families after the bombs stop dropping, guns fall silent, doors are not longer kicked in, and American torture ceases is to stop the war(s) in order to focus our all on the human costs of wars, military base chemical contamination, plus whatever pops up. Cleaning up military bases of toxic waste and the aftermath of how many base residents were poisoned is not free, such efforts COST MONEY. Dealing with the aftermath of war(s), even before they are finished, is not free, it COST MONEY.

    Let me use an old cliche, FREEDOM ISN’T FREE, and neither is the price tag for fixing those who paid for our freedoms.

    Question is where’s the money going to come from?

    1. The American people are not subject to a war tax.
    2. Social programs have been and will continue to be dwindled until we reach inhumane levels of caring for our own. The irony is that our government forks out more bucks to take care of the people of other nations who could care less if America falls or our Empire continues.
    3. Just like most current and former residents of our bases do not want to hear bad news about their base, or their service, we Veterans and even military families fail to see that we are managed under a Socialist system by definition. Some try to divert attention away from this by saying, nope military people get government services, because we earned them or worked for them, but it does not change the fact that any government service provided to any portion of our population is Socialism. We are means tested, categorized, socially, economically, and culturally exploited by the rest of our society.

    Lastly, my apologies, but you state that all these problems have been orchestrated by the Israeli intelligence apparatus [Mossad] and Israeli government. Amy it is not that I doubt your contention, heck Mossad and the state of Israel were considered a hostile foreign intelligence services when I was on active duty, because of aggressive action by Israel to spy on the United States. When our reconnaissance aircraft flew Treaty monitoring missions over Israel and nations hostile to Israel to keep the Peace, Israeli F-15s sold to them by US were hostile enough to try shooting our spy planes down. This after all sides agreed to reconnaissance monitoring.

    However, you need to provide links that prove how Israel is responsible for the content of my article or what you say above?

    Don’t get me wrong, I do not trust Israeli’s any more than I would Soviets, Russians, or Arabs, but to blame everything on Israel without hard evidence via links is a bit too much.

    Bobby Hanafin

  6. ROBERT VN Vet 11th Armored Cav  June 23, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Sorry about your brother Tweetybied193… I was there and I to was exposed to Agent Orange, and like your brother No one in our Govt, gives a Damn.. They only know how to get into wars, for profit, regardless what the cost in human life… As long as they can line their pockets, and the pockets of their friends with pleny of cash, they are happy… When it comes to paying for what they created, forget it… They will find every excuse not to, and they know by the time anything happens, it will be years and decades so they won’t be around to deal with it….

    If there is one thing our Govt, is good at when it comes to paying our Military a desent wage, is to DELAY, DENIE, And Hope They DIE, Policy’s…

  7. Tweetybied193  June 23, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    My only brother died from the Agent Orange that our Own Gov. sprayed over Nam. Hw was sent home sick and then put into hospital right away. The pain was unreal. His death was slow and we never heard from anyone in the militry over his illness. Our Gov. still hasn’t cleaned up the Agent Orange in Nam and they never will. Just another way to kill off more people. He joined to serve his country and his own country killed him.

  8. Hope you recognize us next time when writing about grassroots movements. Let the children/grandchildren know they can join our support community. Learn more about agent orange. So then, they can begin to connect the dots. Take a look at our ‘Lobbying Campaign’ on our website. You can see that recording our stories is at the heart of it.

    Agent Orange Legacy – Children of Vietnam Veterans Mobilizing to fight for the Services, Support & Rights of the Children of Vietnam Veterans & Families of Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange.

    Join us now http://www.agentorangelegacy.ning.com
    Learn more about our ‘Lobbying Campaign” http://www.agentorangelegacy.us

    Sharon Perry,
    Founder
    [email protected]

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