How a group of US veterans in Vietnam are trying to atone for the mistakes of the past.
Fifty years ago this month, in the early stages of the Vietnam War, the US military began spraying rural areas of the country with the herbicide, Agent Orange. The programme’s goal was to defoliate forested land, depriving the enemy Viet Cong of cover and driving peasants to the cities, thus destroying the Viet Cong’s support base and food supply.
Over the next 10 years more than 80 million litres were deployed across 7.4 million hectares of Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia. They were an effective defoliant, but there is strong evidence that the deadly dioxins contained in Agent Orange also had a catastrophic effect on the health of millions of Vietnamese – killing hundreds of thousands and causing dreadful diseases and birth defects in subsequent generations right up to this day.
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