Agent Orange…Falling Prey to Snake Oil Salesmen

by Ed Mattson


Today was not like every other day for many of us. For veterans having to deal with a proposed amendment to the Military Construction Bill I wrote about earlier, written by Senator (and doctor) Tom Colburn, and co-sponsored by Sen. John McCain, it was “mucho hustle time”.

My mailbox was overflowing with emails since about mid-Wednesday. The Senate was going to weight the validity of an amendment that Sen. Colburn wanted to attach to a bill that was intended to help reduce the federal deficit, by attaching it to the Military Construction Bill that was sure to pass. You see, that’s the problem with the doggone Congress and the Legislators who just can’t understand why the American voter is so angry with them.

Washington DC is another planet. Those inside the “Beltway” have no idea what goes on in this country. They are so far out of touch with real live Americans they think it’s OK to do what they want anytime they get an urge. Raise income taxes, add more tax to the cost of gasoline, confiscate land and shut off energy exploration, close businesses with over regulation, pour money down cesspools called Department of Education/Energy/Interior, initiate federal spending on programs without any vision or oversight, and go along with the appointment of a bunch of pinheaded Czars that have not been vetted by Senate Approval.

This whole concept of attaching bills to other bills, many times to avoid open and fair floor debate, many filled with pork and earmarks, and most having never been thoroughly read (does last year’s healthcare bill ring a bell), is downright criminal. As they used to say in Texas, maybe it is time “to get a rope and find a tree”. Folks…even those out here in the so called “fly-over country” are getting wise. Screw us once…shame on you; screw us twice, shame on us. We are now on about the umpteenth screwing but we are wising up!

Take the time to contact your local veterans groups and thank them for going into a “mucho hustle” mode that urged their members to write Congress with our outcry. Having lost friends who survived the war but lost the battle with cancer and/or other disease caused in whole or in part by Agent Orange, we must all realize the battle to get the remaining vets with problems covered is far from over.

In the Senate debate on The Colburn amendment a lot of valid information was presented, and as I stated in my earlier article, the cause of these alphabet of diseases is because a person’s immune system simply failed to protect them. In a perfect world there would never be any diseases yet they have occurred since recorded time. Besides Agent Orange and other toxins many things can render an immune system ineffective. Today an example was used of someone who weighs in at 350lbs, smokes three packs of cigarettes a day, has an intake of high fat diet, and/or other poor lifestyle choices that also spent time in Vietnam. The discussion posed the question, “is the exposure to Agent Orange the actual cause of that person’s health problems after years of lifestyle abuse or not”?

That’s a valid question and to deny it is simply not realistic. During the floor discussion in the Senate, no one brought up the question as to Agent Orange possibly being “partially” to blame or the straw that broke the camel’s back (my metaphor for immune system). Were I to sit in judgment of a 350lbs person smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day, I’d be inclined to say that that person was on a collision course well beyond exposure to Agent Orange.

Additionally there was no mention of the fact that the veteran is “innocent until proven guilty”. It is up to the veteran to prove the cause of his/her illness is due to Agent Orange and not up to the Veterans Administration to prove that Agent Orange isn’t the cause. I think the shoes are on the wrong feet. So, what does it take to validate that Agent Orange is the culprit, as we all know it can alter one’s chromosomal make up and lead to disease, but how do you prove it.

There are several things that need to be known:
1. Was the veteran directly in contact with Agent Orange? Contact could be by ingesting food, absorbed through contact with the skin, inhaled, or swallowed.
2. Was the contact simply in “association with” Agent Orange? Were they in the vicinity of contaminated areas and for how long?
3. Is there any residual evidence of Agent Orange chemicals or dioxin in the fat cells of the body?
4. Is there a family history of the suspected disease in the patient’s family?

While the veteran can answer questions 1 ,2, and 4, it takes a medical laboratory to answer question number three, which is probably the most important indicator if exposure, even proximinal exposure can be proven. We could find out at the time of autopsy as is done testing organs post mortem for toxicity when a suspected poisoning occurred. But to my knowledge, not many Vietnam veterans want to shoot themselves to get an autopsy or have access to medical labs willing to take sophisticated fat tissue samples and run costly analysis to determine whether or not body fat cells contain remnants of Agent Orange or dioxin. VA hospitals are; so why not use that mechanism to better determine who is or isn’t a candidate for assistance.

Agent Orange is a problem created by the Federal Government as are the other occasions where our troops have been exposed to toxins from other sources. Instead of trying to sell the public SNAKE OIL, it’s time to come up with real diagnostic procedures to determine who gets the blame. Most would be far more comfortable with the testing to be done by an independent testing lab, but a few years back the VA hospital in Little Rock embarked on similar fat-cell testing for Gulf War Syndrome.

We can send a man to the moon, solve small pox, and even build mechanical hearts, but we can’t take the time and invest the money to help one of our nations’ most valuable assets…unbelievable

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Posted by on July 21, 2011, With Reads Filed under Veterans. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

9 Responses to "Agent Orange…Falling Prey to Snake Oil Salesmen"

  1. Edwin Crosby III  August 9, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    The V.A. had every chance to obtain ” fat ” from any Vietnam Veteran they operated on. When they operated on me, I did ask, are you going to take a sample of body fat to determine if there is dioxin present ? Moreover, when they removed a tumor from me in Nov. 1987, that ended up in the red-tag burn bag. The V.A. does what the WHITE HOUSE tells them, and its always been since REAGAN Administration, ” No Agent Orange Claims “. How about a WEBSITE that presents EVIDENCE of wrongdoing of a Gov’t Employee, asks for signatures from across the country to have this person arrested and convicted, jailed. We can send the ” Complaint ” to the U.S. Provost Marshall since the Judicial System is so corrupt, its a way around the BS and talk, talk, talk. DO SOMETHING !!

  2. jerry bolduc  August 9, 2011 at 10:29 am

    …that the losers can’t *pay* for

  3. jerry bolduc  August 9, 2011 at 10:24 am

    What drivel Mr Mattson! When you say things like “doggone Congress and the Legislators who just can’t understand why the American voter is so angry with them” or “Washington DC is another planet. Those inside the “Beltway” have no idea what goes on in this country. They are so far out of touch with real live Americans…” I could scream because THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT’S GOING ON!!! And people like YOU help them Mr Wattson! This is nothing less than the same scam they’re pulling with Social Security and Medicare…insurance programs which we have already paid for. The super wealthy were making bets with one another using derivatives and the losing party didn’t have the money to make good on their side of the bet. That’s what we’re doing…paying for the bad bet that the loser can’t pay for himself!!!!! It’s called AUSTERITY, and you better believe that Congress knows EXACTLY what they’re doing!!! Congress people may be despicable, but they’re damn sure not stupid Mr Wattson!

    How many people do you know who weigh 350 pounds and smoke 3 packs per day? I know of NO ONE that fits that description! Yet, in your mind, that’s a “valid” argument? Give me a massively induced break, would you please?

    What you are suggesting is that we re-open issues that have been settled years ago via law suits and scientific research! Indeed, it was the scientific community that lead the way in halting the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam. It took Congress years to finally stop using it because there was too much money being made!

    The FACT that more Vietnam vets are getting type II diabetes can be verified by by visiting any VA hospital and asking some questions of the director! Here’s something to look at:

    Here’s a story from Veterans Today:

    The November 2006 issue of The American Journal of Industrial Medicine published a study conducted by the VA itself:

    After the military was warned by scientists that Agent Orange and other herbicides were associated with harmful health consequences, they continued to refuse to test our blood before we went over and when we returned ostensibly because of the cost. Cost was an excuse for decades, until now? So many Vietnam Vets have passed away, that now you want to test our blood? Give me another massively induced break, would you please Mr Mattson?

    McCain…the guy that was responsible for the deaths of several shipmates with his childish pranks…and he has somehow morphed into a responsible senator? Give me another massively…oh forget it!

    The Republicans did the same thing when Reagan was elected…he promised smaller government (it grew) he promised lower taxes (they went up) he promised better times (he destroyed the unions and the working man) . They even had the audacity to turn loose mentally impaired people onto the streets. People who in some instances, couldn’t even count their change…indeed, some didn’t realize that they had change due after buying something. Needless to say, in less than a year these poor souls were left to sleep on cardboard on city streets. Don’t you remember the people sleeping in cardboard boxes???

    This entire charade is designed to have we, the people, make good on losing bets that the losers can’t for…massive THEFT, and it’s as simple as that Mr Wattson!

    jerry bolduc

  4. vinnie  July 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Every Veteran need’s to destroy the EVIL MONSTER. the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Along with their side kick’s in crime. the NAZI—JEWS.

  5. Betty  July 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    This is a side note FYI and information you may already have, but fairly recent with us. Found out a couple of weeks ago that the evaporators used to provide drinking water aboard the “brown” water Navy ships actually enhance the effects of AO times 10.

  6. NightFlyer  July 22, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Good article Ed. Seems to me that notning will ever get done on this subject as most of us are dead, and the others exposed to the the gundreds of tixic agents since are also dying or being medicated so deeply they cannot be counted on to even write a senator.

    We’ve all been used, abused, and played in a ruse which time shall all go away.

    The latest DHS statement states that white middle class males are the current domestic treat in America. Do you see where this going folks. Gov guys are way pass chemical exposure issues with us.

    I’m at a location where the Israelli / Venezulen crew has infoltrated the DHS and Coast Guard on Puerto Rico and northward intgo the District Seven that is NC, SC, GA, FL, PR, VI. And no one gives a shit about it.
    Israel is behind the AO issue and USA representatives aren’t going to go against them (don’t bite the hand that feeds you). Better to live out your life (if you have one), (I don’t), and do whatever works for you until the last breath.

    Me, Been thinking of returning to Marble Moustain because I believe my spirit is there. My body is almost dead from AO but my mind is still blinking and the message os to return from whence I came.

    Take care all of you, Been one hell of a trip.

  7. AL  July 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Thanks for the article. As you say, they’re full of it, but I don’t think they really know what “Snake Oil” is.
    Thanks to the Veteran email network for a job well done. The biggest thing that they (congress) forget is: They trained and paid use to be a “Fighting Machine”. That really means: when we’re together on the mission, we know the results we want. Now, we do it for US, the collective Veteran. We are and will make it happen.

  8. Glenn Thrasher  July 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I was exposed to agent orange and other toxins working in the air traffic radar control center at the Camn Ranh Bay Ab in RVN, I had several toxic chemical symptoms, After I retired in 78 I was able to work one year before I started getting sick, I returned to Al to seek help at the VA Host in BHM, they gave me predisione and other meds that made me condition worse, the predisione made me gain over 50lbs in just a few months, If I has of staied on it I would have weighed over 350 lbs defored I died. Tel 2564926176

  9. Texas Vet  July 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Thanks, Ed. Absolutely right on target.


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