Bankrupting the USA from Agent Orange in Vietnam to depleted Uranium shells in The Gulf War the costs in dollars and lives lost is not yet known!

Monday, October 01, 2007

The US has recently pledged $400,000 towards a $1million dollar study to help in the clean up of an Agent Orange storage site in Vietnam which was used by US forces during the Vietnam War.

The USA still to this day denies that there is any link between the excessively high cases of illness and deformities in the region. Which was sprayed from the air on combatants and innocent civilians, as well as are own soldiers. However the United States does accept that the dioxin left behind is dangerous.

One must also ask for how long and how much money are we going to be paying for the cleanup of all the spent uranium in Iraq as well?

The government’s lack of compassion in regards to Vietnam started after numerous veterans returned from Vietnam with many ailments, primarily chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This because of their exposure to Agent Orange a defoliant widely used in the conflict to clear the dense jungle which was prevalent in Southeast Asia.

Just recently the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled again against the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. This was the sixth major ruling against the US government by an appeals court or federal judge in a case that began in 1986.

Judge Stephen Reinhart wrote in the opinion:

“What is difficult for us to comprehend is why the Department of Veterans Affairs, having entered into a settlement agreement and agreed to a consent order some 16 years ago, continues to resist its implementation so vigorously, as well as to resist equally vigorously the payment of desperately needed benefits to Vietnam War veterans who fought for their country and suffered grievous injury as a result of our government’s own conduct,”.

As soldiers who had served in Vietnam returned to civilian life following their tours of duty in Southeast Asia some began to develop unusual health problems. There were skin and liver diseases and what seemed to be an abnormal number of cancers to soft tissue organs such as the lungs and stomach.

There also appeared to be an unusually high number of birth defects among children born to Vietnam veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange. Many veterans experienced wild mood swings, while others developed a painful skin rash known as chloracne. Numerous veterans were found to have high levels of dioxin in their blood. However scientists and the U.S. government insisted there was no link between their illnesses and Agent Orange.

These men who fought and died in the Vietnam conflict were and are being forgotten by the country they once served as will the Gulf War veterans after they are used up in this latest foreign war in Iraq.

The Gulf War Syndrome:

During the first incursion in what is now called the Gulf War which the US military was involved in from August 2, 1990 until February 28, 1991. There was extensive use of Depleted Uranium shells most often celebrated in the so-called Shock and Awe bombings. These shells that were used were very effective at penetrating armored vehicles, upon impact the munitions would explode and they would diffuse a fine mist into the air which was easily inhaled by the soldiers in the theater of operations.

As many of our veterans of this conflict returned to civilian life numerous cancers began to emerge in them and many were dying because of the aggressive nature of the disease. Many of these soldiers who had aggressive cancers and were housed at Walter Reed voiced their concerns about the conditions they endured during the first conflict in Iraq. They spoke of the brown water they had to use and also of the dust that they encountered and breathed in from exploded munitions.

One Gulf War veteran stated:

” There’s so much pollution from so many sources; your body can’t fight what’s coming at it. And you don’t eat well or sleep well, ever. That weakens you, too. There’s no chance to gather your strength. These are kids 19, 20 and 21 getting all kinds of cancers. The Walter Reed cancer ward is packed full with them”.

There is a bill in Congress called the “DU bill” that will require that all members of the US military exposed to the ordinance in question will have to be identified and tested. If the plight of the Vietnam veterans is any indication this bill will be of questionable value to these veterans of the Gulf War who fought for the USA.

The US government is caught in quite the conundrum, if they validate these veterans claims they will quite probably be liable to innocent Iraq citizens as well. Only time will tell and I am quite sure during the period countless veterans of both conflicts will suffer needlessly.

What do we owe these men and women who have fought and continue to fight valiantly for our country?

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