Monday, November 23, 2015

What are we waiting for?
Agent Orange/dioxin has killed more Americans than al-Qaida, the Islamic State, Boko Haram, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard combined. It has managed to do this without any significant action from our government to stop the slaughter of American veterans and their families.
Currently two bills, Senate Bill 901 and House Resolution 1769, the Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015, languish in Congress because those we elect choose to ignore the simple fact that Agent Orange/dioxin is injuring and killing people 40 years after the Vietnam War ended.
It is now 50 years since our “official” entry into the war in Vietnam on Nov. 14, 1965, when elements of the 1st Air Cavalry Division engaged a superior North Vietnamese force in the Ia Drang Valley. Gen. Hal Moore and journalist Joe Galloway chronicled this battle in the book “We Were Soldiers Once and Young,” subsequently made into the Mel Gibson film “We Were Soldiers.”
What are we waiting for?
In 1983, scholar Fred Wilcox penned a book titled “Waiting for an Army to Die” about the tragedy of Agent Orange/dioxin. In it, the author quotes a young Vietnam veteran, 28-year-old Paul Reutershan, who told the “Today” show in spring 1978, “I died in Vietnam, but I didn’t even know it.”
This was only three years after we left Vietnam. He died less than six months later from the cancer that had destroyed his colon, liver and abdomen.
These two bills are very simple in their effort to address the crisis of birth defects in the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of those men and women who served our nation in Vietnam.

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