The use of Agent Orange in The Vietnam War has left a sad and shameful legacy. In this episode we will take a look at a story from Iowa Public Radio titled: New Generations Fear Agent Orange submitted by Rick Fredericksen. The story is about an Agent Orange symposium which was a fact-finding conference sponsored by Vietnam Veterans of America and it was held in Des Moines, Iowa. A number of speakers shared scary stories about lives being ravaged by the effects of diseases and illnesses caused by exposure to Agent Orange. The speakers were not limited to Vietnam Veterans. There were descendants of Vietnam Veterans who spoke of suffering from diseases they believe were passed on from a Vietnam Veteran parent who was exposed.
It would be very easy to be a “Monday Morning Quarterback” and say it was a big mistake to use Agent Orange in The Vietnam War. The decision makers who opted to use the herbicide made a tremendous error in judgment. Even though we were all told it was harmless there were findings available that indicated it contained an element known as tetraclorodibenzodioxin which is carcinogenic. That means its causes cancer to humans and animals. It is the writer’s opinion the decision makers weighed the benefits of its use against its hazards and decided the benefits outnumbered the perils of its use and decided to go with its use.
22 million gallons of sprayed Agent Orange later we are now stuck with the facts that tens of thousands of Vietnam Veterans have died premature and painful deaths, many are still sick with Agent Orange diseases to this day and many of their down lines suspiciously suffer from diseases on the VA’s list of presumptive diseases caused by exposure.
As a nation we must continue to take care of Vietnam Veterans who suffer from Agent Orange diseases and we must continue research into the effects of Agent Orange on the descendants of Vietnam Veterans.