Vietnam War—No light at end of tunnel for Agent Orange victims

Vietnam - The Orange areas represent concentrated spraying areas; though the chemical was pervasive throughout the country

In Vietnam, some 35 years after the war, Agent Orange is still claiming victims. Used on a massive scale by the U.S. Army to prevent  soldiers from hiding, this powerful herbicide permeated the ground. From encephalitis to congenital deformities and leukaemia, thousands of children are being born severely handicapped due to the chemical.

From 1961 to 1971, the US army sprayed massive amounts of dioxin over Vietnam. In total, between 2.1 and 4.8 million people living in some 20,000 villages were directly affected.

Fourty years after it was sprayed, Agent Orange continues to cause deaths, cancers, leukaemia and birth defects. The Vietnamese Red Cross estimates that there are one million victims.

At the end of 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama decided to double the amount of American aid set aside to repair the damage caused by Agent Orange in Vietnam. Six million dollars will now be put towards decontaminating the worst-affected areas. Part of this money is expected to go to centres where the victims of Agent Orange live. The Vietnamese welcomed this gesture by Obama, but found it insufficient considering the amount of damage caused in their country.

Unable to attack the U.S. government, the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange filed a lawsuit in the US courts against the main American herbicide suppliers, including Dow Chemical, Thompson, Diamond, Monsanto, Hercules and Uniroyal. The first verdict was delivered on March 13th 2007: the lawsuit was dismissed.

But the NGOs are not giving up. They want those responsible for this sanitary catastrophe to be tried, and the victims awarded compensation. On May 15th and 16th 2009, an International People’s Tribunal of Conscience met in Paris to hear the testimony of Agent Orange victims and determine responsibilities. Over 40 years after it was sprayed, Agent Orange is still a daily preoccupation for the Vietnamese.

Our reporters went to the contaminated zones of Vietnam to meet the victims.



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Posted by on January 25, 2011, With Reads Filed under History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

13 Responses to "Vietnam War—No light at end of tunnel for Agent Orange victims"

  1. mike  March 21, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    It is a strange string of events..Our dads fought/died in Europe in order to free the Jews from death camps in Germany. Some 15 years later a Jew, Henry Kissinger, goes along with the use of Agent Orange, knowing Good and Well it will eventually kill/seriously injure the Very Sons of the brave men who put themselves in harms way to save the Jewish population from extinction…Thats what you call a sincere Thanks…….

  2. mike  March 16, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I honestly did NOT know about Subic Bay, or the Philippines, however it stands to reason…Thank you, Sir: Mike

  3. mike  March 16, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    BOY !! ain’t that the TRUTH !!

  4. mike  March 16, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    While watching this disaster continue to plague the poor people of Japan, and our own people; our military, medical and our rescue crews trying to help, I am happy precautions are now inplace to HELP ensure safety to all. I was supprised to hear that the U.S. Navy moved their ships further from the shore, whatever for ? CNN weathermen watching atmospheric winds and conditions, making predictions, and Helicopters ordered “NO-FLY” ?? people ordered to close windows, doors and stay inside..I am reminded of all the real great Concern, and for ALL this GREAT CARE that this country generously gives to all the Vietman Veterans, who have honorably served for this country, who continue to suffer or even die from exposure, Congress refuses claims, ignores the Veterans and continues to keep the public in the dark, while they ready themselves for re-election..afterall where in the world would they find a job ?? thanks, Mike

  5. Randy  February 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    It’s only going to get worse for us vets. Cuts, cuts, cuts.

  6. Edwin Crosby III  February 1, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    In the original lawsuit against chemical companies, an award of $220 MILLION was paid, LAWYERS got $180 MILLION, leaving those of us poisoned with $40 Million. I got 3 checks for $600 each, WHOOP-De-Do ! Why didn’t we get $180 Million and the scum $40 Million ? Cruel & Unusual Punishment ! There is that Constitutional phrase again. Yes, Vietnam is a wasteland, and YES, there should be trials for war criminals over this issue. Didn’t they discuss this chemical issue at NUREMBURG ? Edwin Crosby III

  7. Dale R. Suiter  January 27, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I am not a lawyer – prosecuting people like Henry Kissinger is very difficult. People in government have a limited imunitity from civil law suits. Regarding prosecution for a criminal offense – probably have to establish a capital case, i.e. murder. Statue of Limatations may protect Henry Kissinger.

  8. DOUG KELLEY  January 27, 2011 at 11:36 am

    what old documents on guam ? havent heard a word of any documents

  9. Tim Zerr  January 26, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Is terrorism justified as self-defense against terrorism. I will tell you what I think the US militarys version of terrorism is. Napalm, White Phosphorus, Cluster Bombs, Depleted Uranium, Agent Orange, other Agents tried in Vietnam, B-52 strikes, Bunker Busters, etc. All this used against human beings, sometimes their only defense may have been an old rifle or AK-47. If you ever walked through a village, as I have, that the US used napalm, white phosphorus, or cluster bombs against not just soldiers, but families who may or may not have been sympathetic to them, then you may take a fresh look at how the rest of the world looks at terrorism. Agent Orange was a weapon of terror against our own troops and the Vietnamese. The military and Dow, Monsanto, Diamond Shamrock know it. Now what is the definition of terror. And do we say because the pilot or the commander, or pentagon/media or president call it collateral damage that it is not terror. Ask the people at the receiving end of WP, Agent Orange or Cluster Bombs. These actions by us help create terrorists because terrorists in addition to being brainwashed like us also feel impotent against our massive arrsenal of weapons of mass destruction and multiple military bases all over the world. A combination of their fanatical religious endoctrination and this helplessness looking at our domination in the world and our corporate,political corruption, well it makes their case to do something radical. I am not justifing their actions by any means but until this larger context along with our responsibility in it is understood with compassionate action, we will continue to enable some of this terrorism. I cant believe how gracious the Vietnamese are to our soldiers when they go back to Vietnam considering that their people have many many more casualties then we did from agent orange and ordinance. I hope this does not just sound like some angry rant like a few I read on these comments. I do try and connect the dots as much as my limited information and my concern lets me.

  10. Lem G.  January 25, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Guam, Thailand, the Philippines Clark AFB, Subic Bay, Delta Station etc.

  11. Lem G.  January 25, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    The old classified documents are finally be opened by FOIA and our advocates concerning Naval personnel onboard ships, air force and army personnel whose bases were sprayed to clear air bases and camps of vegetation for clear visibility for “security” reasons.

  12. MSgt LeRoy Foster, Ret.  January 25, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Please tell major hannafin that because of his story about me and other Vietnam War veterans stationed on Andersen afb guam that my AO claim was approved today Jan 25 2010. I am so thankful to him for helping us out. The VA has acknowledged AO use on Guam.

  13. D Costa  January 25, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Prosecute the war criminal Henry Kissinger who is responsible for the Vietnam war. Why is he still a free man?

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