Agent Orange Lives On

In the War Museum there was a gallery dedicated to the victims of dioxide, aka Agent Orange. We hadn’t known that the horrendous effects of this chemical (used to defoliate the jungle to hamper the movement of the Viet Cong guerrillas) are STILL being passed down genetically. There were dozens of pictures of children who had been born with unthinkable deformities late into the 90’s when the exhibit was made. Here is one Agent Orange victim.

Agent Orange Victim

Back home, the government has begun to compensate US soldiers and their families because they, too, were exposed to Agent Orange. A letter from a Vietnamese dioxide victim to President Obama put forth a compelling argument justifying compensation. The plea pointed out that since the US had recently taken responsibility for the damage Agent Orange has done to its own people, it could no longer ignore the people of Vietnam who have also fallen victim. The US is taking steps to clean up the contamination.

An artist depicts victims of Agent Orange. (Ho Chi Minh Art Museum)

Our time in this museum was an agonizing reminder of our duty (especially as citizens of a democratic society) to be vigilant in holding our government and military officials accountable; so that those who make decisions that ultimately destroy lives – on BOTH sides – do not speed down the path of destruction without just cause.

“War is over… if you want it.” – John Lennon and Yoko Ono

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