Sunday, January 8, 2012

Agent Orange: A Tragic Legacy

Until the US govt and the responsible corporations are held accountable in this bioterrorism war crime, victims will continue to be overlooked
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - In an effort to help tip the scales for the United States during the Vietnam War, Agent Orange was developed by biotechnological companies in order to help clear dense fields, giving soldiers a clearer vision of their targets. Along with the loss of vegetation, the was an additional hope that Vietnamese farmers would relocate to U.S. occupied cities, and no longer be able to grow and provide for the Vietnamese troops.

It was known as Operation Ranch Hand and lasted from 1962 to 1971; during this time, the United States military dropped millions of gallons of this synthetic herbicide over large areas of the country—spraying some areas multiple times over. It was named Agent Orange after the colored bands that were used to mark the drums that it was stored in (others were considered Agent White, Blue, Pink, Green, and Purple).

And with the effectiveness of the chemical, came a life threatening by-product, dioxin.

According to the American Cancer Society, the particular dioxin contained in Agent Orange is “one of the most toxic” man-made chemicals existing today—a weapon no doubt. High levels of dioxin rained down on the land and people of Vietnam, becoming absorbed in the soil and contaminating it completely during the war and for generations to come.

In one of the most obvious displays of chemical warfare, Agent Orange has left a debilitating mark on hundreds of thousands of people, both Vietnamese and Americans alike. In the 50 years since its first use, various types of cancer (including prostate and leukemia) birth defects, and other high-risk diseases have been cropping up from one generation to the next. And that is not the least of it.


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