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
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
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
Home Front: The Government’s War on Soldiers by Rick
Anderson, which is for sale at most bookstores.