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

January/February 2006

WMD: Orange, White, And Blue


I’ve read just about every book on Agent Orange-related chemicals. This self-published volume by Charles Kelley transcends all of them. Vietnam’s Orange, White and Blue Rain: Agents and Weapons of Mass Destruction (Corps Productions, 328 pp., $24.95) is a labor of love and pain, a comprehensive volume that touches on the political, scientific, sociological, and legal aspects of the widespread use of dioxin-rich herbicides, defoliants, and desiccants.

In the legal realm, Kelley provokes serious questions about veterans’ rights. Under the Federal Torts Claims Act, soldiers poisoned by toxic chemicals in warfare are prohibited from suing the federal government. Yet, as Kelley points out, the authors of this act “never intended to preclude a suit by a soldier.”

Perhaps more importantly, Kelley examines the combined effects of the chemical agents that were so liberally sprayed in Southeast Asia. He makes a case that the mixture of toxic contaminants can cause latent injuries that are much more deadly than the effects of a single poison.

Kelley explores and clearly documents the unholy matrimony of our government and the chemical industry that, he charges, has conspired to hide the truth about the human and environmental effects of the use of these poisons in Vietnam. And not only in Vietnam: The author hints that Gulf War veterans may have been exposed to—and potentially harmed by—some of the 75 or so dioxins that may have been produced by burning oil wells.

I urge anyone interested in, or affected by, the herbicides and defoliants to read this book. It can be purchased at:

George Claxton is co-chair of VVA’s Agent Orange/Dioxin Committee.


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