Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Orange Fog of War

‘Lesson #8: Be Prepared to Reexamine Your Reasoning.’

The above quote is from the film “Fog of War” which we viewed in class. The above pictures are the effects of a toxic chemical used in Vietnam called Agent Orange. ‘Be Prepared to Reexamine Your Reasoning’ is right…

Agent Orange was a toxic chemical used in Vietnam by the U.S. to remove leaves from the trees in order to eliminate foliage for the Viet Cong to hide amongst. The chemical was sprayed aerially all over South Vietnam. Just as the chemical itself trickled down through the trees, so did the negative side effects onto those who came into contact with it. The Vietnamese were not the only ones affected by the chemical—any U.S. Veterans who came into contact with the chemical chanced being affected as well. As we now know, the effects of the chemical did not stop at just affecting those who came into direct contact with it, but it would also affect the unborn children of those afflicted with the chemical poisoning.

In pursuing my interest to fully understand the dangers of this toxic war mechanism I came across an article in the Washington Post from this past summer (2012) discussing the continued discovery of negative health effects caused by the use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War. To this present time, victims of Agent Orange are still being revealed. The irresponsible use of a weapon of war has continued to breed negative effects on people generations removed from the Vietnam War. Agent Orange’s effects are continuing to be displayed not only on the people of Vietnam, but also on American citizens. The affects of the chemical are atrocious to begin with and the fact that there are people still being affected generations later makes the decision to use Agent Orange highly regrettable. Although I’m sure I didn’t have to bring that reality to attention—the pictures speak for themselves.

The Vietnamese are still affected worse than Americans because it wasn’t until five years ago that they sealed off some areas where high concentrations of Agent Orange were still found in the soil and water. Until these areas were sealed off the Vietnamese were still living, eating, drinking, and breathing in areas highly contaminated with the toxic chemical. According to the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as many as five million Vietnamese citizens have been affected by Agent Orange. Although, we cannot be certain of the exact number because Agent Orange can cause birth defects to children born of those exposed for generations to come. The year 2007 was the first direct involvement of the U.S. to help eliminate Agent Orange from areas in Vietnam, but hopefully while “reexamining our reasoning” more assistance may be provided.

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