In this episode we will take a look at two late breaking news items relating to Vietnam Veterans. The first one comes from the defense.gov website titled: Pentagon’s Newest Exhibit Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Vietnam War by Amaani Lyle DoD News, Defense Media Activity. On Tuesday, December 20, 2016 Vietnam veteran and former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel returned to the Pentagon today to join Defense Secretary Ash Carter in officially opening an exhibit honoring the estimated 9 million Americans who served in the Vietnam War.
The permanent exhibit, located on the 3rd floor of the Pentagon between corridors 2 and 3, uniquely documents and illustrates the history of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War through a variety of media outlets of the time. It exhibits historically accurate material and interactive experiences designed to help today’s American public better understand and appreciate the service of the nation’s Vietnam veterans and their families, and the history of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. The next time you are on the 3rd floor between corridors 2 and 3 in the Pentagon check it out.
The other bit of Vietnam Veteran news comes from the propublica.org website is titled: ProPublica Files Lawsuit Seeking Agent Orange Documents From the VA and was submitted by Charles Ornstein of ProPublica. It seems that last may ProPublica requested some information from the VA relating to correspondence between various VA officials and scientist Dr. Alvin Young, who has guided the stance of the military and VA on Agent Orange and whether it has harmed service members. The request also sought internal correspondence about any contracts awarded to Young or his consulting firm.
The VA has consistently relied upon Dr. Young’s findings for the foundation of its policy toward Claims by Vietnam Veterans seeking assistance for Agent Orange related diseases. Dr. Young has been known say Vietnam Veterans seeking that assistance are “freeloaders making up ailments to “cash in” on the VA’s compensation system.” Oh and by the way, much of his research about Agent Orange was funded by Monsanto and the Dow Chemical Company. Over the years, the VA has repeatedly cited Young’s work to deny disability compensation to vets.
As of this date the VA has produced none of the requested documents citing: computer issues and a backlog of requests as their reasons for noncompliance with ProPublica FIOA request. Since the VA has stonewalled and failed to disclose the requested documents ProPublica has filed suit.