Saturday, October 6, 2012

Red Fridays - Burn Pits, the new Agent Orange

There have been a lot of comparisons to the Wars in Afghanistan and Viet Nam, though much of it has been in the form of arguments for ending the current war based on lessons learned from that previous conflict. However, there is a much more concrete and dire comparison between the two to which even the most ardent anti-war demonstrators seem blind. In Viet Nam, it was called  Agent Orange, and forty years later veterans exposed to this and other
chemicals are still fighting for treatment and answers. In Afghanistan, they are called Burn Pits. The primary difference is the first was a weapon deployed
against the environment and the second is ostensibly in defense of the environment.
In Afghanistan, as it was in Iraq and in the Gulf War, military bases have a serious problem with waste disposal. Particularly on very large bases with hospital complexes and on Forward Operating Bases in the more remote regions, what to do with the waste generated daily by several thousand people is a question for which there are no easy answers.
In the instance of medical waste, at least at the joint Camp Leatherneck/Camp Bastion, there are incinerators but they are used only for operating room waste, according to a letter written by an Army captain to Military Times in June of this year. The captain states that all other waste, “including bloody bandages, medical supply waste and needles, were thrown into a burn pit less than 100 yards from (her) quarters.”

No comments:

Post a Comment