Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We can stop the nightmare from Agent Orange


- Traitors like U.S. Sens. James Webb and Richard Burr aside consciousness is flowering amid tragedy -

By Susan V. Berresford, convener of the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin

The war in Vietnam ended more than 35 years ago, but Trinh Luc, 18, is still feeling the effects of Agent Orange, a defoliant used by the U.S. military. Totally disabled since birth with mental deficiencies, violent tremors and muscle degeneration, he lives in rural Vietnam with his mother, 59, who was a volunteer cook with Vietnamese troops in the jungle mountains during the war and recalls being sprayed several times. Her skin is still blotched and bumpy with chloracne.

Agent Orange, it seems, is still causing fresh harm to innocent newborns and adults in Vietnam, not to mention its harm to war vets on both sides of the Pacific. The good news is that we can stop this nightmare, and at a reasonable cost.

Doing so would be in the best American tradition of humanitarian care, and would help address the remaining shadow on the relationship between our two countries. An action plan is now in hand that comes out of another valued tradition — a public-private partnership.

By the end of the war in 1975, 2.5 million U.S. military personnel had served in combat zones where many were exposed to Agent Orange’s toxic contaminant, dioxin. Upon returning home, many began reporting unusual illnesses: chloracne, several forms of cancer, diabetes, and birth defects in their offspring.

READ MORE: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/10/05/we-can-stop-the-nightmare-from-agent-orange/

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