The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

January/February 2006
Agent Orange Committee Report
   
 

Agent Orange Folly

BY GEORGE CLAXTON, CHAIR

VVA has been out in front for a long time, illuminating the dark corners of the effects of Agent Orange or, more correctly, dioxin on those of us who served our nation in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

During these years, we have learned a great deal about the toxic effects of dioxin. Still, it is with feelings of deep remorse and anger that we watch as more and more of our brother and sister veterans succumb well before their time to diseases we believe to be related to exposure to herbicides and defoliants.

Because of the disappointing conclusions of the most recent biennial report of a panel of the Institute of Medicine, I believe that the first priority of VVA is to lobby for funding for additional research, particularly on the intergenerational effects of exposure to AO. If we permit the government to handle this research, we will all be dead before the studies are completed. This is folly. This is unacceptable.

We should remember that many chemical herbicides, insecticides, and defoliants were used almost indiscriminately in Vietnam. I believe that their effects may be as dependent on synergy as on their individual toxic properties. Studies need to be conducted to learn how they affect humans in tandem, not simply alone. This is particularly true for Agents Orange and Blue, which could produce a thousand-fold increase in human toxicity.

What is needed is an in-depth study by experts from a university. This must be an independent study with no government influence. Our government, I believe, does not want such a study to be conducted because its findings could lead to billion-dollar lawsuits against chemical companies.

There are two books that I highly recommend: Vietnam’s Agent Orange, White and Blue Rain Agents, Weapons of Mass Destruction by Charles Kelley, which may be obtained at www.2ndbattalion94thartillery.com/book/bookorders.htm and Home Front: The Government’s War on Soldiers by Rick Anderson, which is for sale at most bookstores.

   

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