Agent Orange And The Vietnamese Who Suffer From It

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I got sent this article in my way from the Chicago Tribune - part of a series - that talks about the effects that Agent Orange has had on Vietnamese who weren't even born at the time of its use.

In central Indiana, two sisters struggle through another day, afflicted by a painful condition in which their brains are wedged against their spinal cords. They are in their 30s, but their bodies are slowly shutting down. Thousands of miles away, amid the rice paddies of Vietnam, a father holds down his 19-year-old daughter as she writhes in pain from a seizure brought on by fluid in her skull, which has been drained four times in the past four years.

"The doctors said that they were sorry, but they could not cure her," the father says. "They told me I should take her home and that she would pass away very soon." These women come from different cultures, from nations separated by more than 8,300 miles. Their fathers fought on opposite sides of the Vietnam War, but they are linked by the stubborn legacy of Agent Orange and other defoliants sprayed by the U.S. military decades ago.
The fact that light's still being shed on a topic as important as this - it's needed. The story has to keep on being told, and while war is war - how can you not as a U.S. government who decries human rights violations - never stand up and take responsibility for the lives that have been torn apart because of a war that should never have been waged in the first place - along with the chemicals used to fight it?