Book Marks 50th Anniversary Of Agent Orange In Vietnam

For millions of people, the consequences of Agent Orange, a dangerous herbicide made by bio-tech giant Monsanto, remains a lived reality. Activists, veterans, scientists, and victims in Vietnam and the US alike hope that with the fiftieth anniversary this year of the first spraying of defoliants over Vietnamese forests, waterways, and rural land, the full scope and tragedy finally can come into focus.

Vietnam War scholar and accomplished author Fred Wilcox has studied the after effects of Agent Orange for over thirty years. His latest book, “Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam,” focuses on the stories of both Vietnam veterans and their children, and over 3 million affected individuals throughout Southern Vietnam, who have suffered from a host of physical and developmental ailments due to dioxin exposure.

I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Wilcox a few questions about the ongoing effects of Agent Orange for the Vietnamese and his opinion of Monsanto’s silent domination of the global food system.

Go to the next page to read his responses and view pictures of the legacy Monsanto left behind.

Agent Orange Children - Tu Du Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City

Care2: What was the overall feeling of the victims you interviewed for the book? Do they feel like the public understands the longevity of their suffering?

“The doctors, scientists, care givers, parents, and others I interviewed in Vietnam do not feel that Americans fully understand the legacies of chemical warfare. They believe that the US government is compensating our veterans for the deadly effects of Agent Orange, and can’t understand why neither our government nor the chemical manufacturers of Agent Orange are willing to help millions of Vietnamese adults and 500,000 Vietnamese children who are sick and dying from the effects of chemical warfare.”

Wilcox with Agent Orange family, Danang, Vietnam

Care2: How do you and/or the victims feel about Monsanto’s presence in the agricultural system, both in the U.S. and around the world?

“I don’t know how people in Vietnam feel about the fact that Dow and Monsanto have established offices in the country in which millions of people are suffering because these corporations placed profit over people. My own feeling is that Dow and Monsanto are criminal organizations that should be tried before a world court for committing war crimes in Vietnam. By establishing offices in Vietnam, these corporations show their abiding contempt for the Vietnamese people, and other victims of insatiable greed.”

For the Vietnamese individuals and families affected by Agent Orange, survival is a daily struggle. Children are born with debilitating birth defects to families that can’t afford proper medical treatment and therapy. And Monsanto, the company responsible for their suffering, pretends that they don’t exist. Instead, Monsanto is pushing for its genetically-modified seeds, toxic pesticides and herbicides, and environmentally-hazardous fertilizers to be used without the public’s consent on almost every country of the world. And it’s still using Agent Orange to destroy the Amazon.

Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam and a second edition of Wilcox’ critically acclaimed Waiting for an Army to Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange, published simultaneously this month, focus on the stories of both Vietnam veterans and their children, and over 3 million affected individuals throughout Southern Vietnam, who have suffered from a host of physical and developmental ailments due to dioxin exposure.

Together, the books offer a full-spectrum look at a tragedy that, like the disaster in Japan and the oil spill in the Gulf, has disastrous effects for decades. No one can be sure when, if ever, this calamity will end. Faced with such catastrophe, we should hope that some will ask, what can this teach us?

Take action to stop Monsanto by signing the petition below.


Related Reading:

Monsanto Corn At Farmers’ Markets?

Monsanto’s Mutant Alfalfa And The Feral Pig Invasion

Research Links Monsanto’s Roundup To Root Fungus

Images copyright Fred Wilcox

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Natalie Rusu
Natalie Rusu3 years ago

I have recently visited The War Remnants Museum in Vietnam...speechless...there you can see pictures with what this agent did to Vietnamese people....shame!

pete M.
peter m.3 years ago

Vietnam and agent orange and even Desert Storm used illegal chemicals tested on our own American soldiers.,

Vickie Gifford
Vickie Gifford4 years ago

My cousin endured the horror, Agent Orange bombardment in Vietnam. He returned home, illness engulfed him constantly. His child was born blind, developed leukemia at age 2 and has mental problems. She had to undergo the torture treament of cancer, several times over the next 5 years. Thankfully she survived, she still suffers from mental problems. Our government denied any responsibility of Agent Orange connection to his child's health or his. He gave up, never spoke about experience, never applied for any veteran benefits allotted to him. As he stated, the Army used me, abused me and threw me aside when I was no longer of use to them! If they called him now, he'd spit in their face, protect his loved ones and let the "chips fall where they may!"

Rose Balcom
Rose Balcom4 years ago

Agent orange was tested by US Army at CFB Gagetown, in New Brunswick, Canada. Something the Canadian Government denied for years! That's one thing.The American servicemen exposed to this in Viet Nam is shockingly aweful. So are the victims in Viet Nam. Does not this fall under the Geneva Convention? Under Chemical Weapons? If not, it should have.

Alberta Gentleman

My brothe was in Vietnam and was subject to Agent Orange. He and his children have medical conditions related to it.

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Naomi M.
Naomi Miskimins4 years ago

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

janet T.
janet T.4 years ago

Agent Orange, Gulf War Syndrome, makes you wonder what will come home with the soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq this time. I know that there were babies born with birth defects they believe came from Agent Orange, and there was a cluster of babies born with birth defects after the first Gulf War under Bush I. Are we even looking at this war that Bush II gave us?? Depleted Uranium has caused birth defects among the Iraqis.

Judith Emerson
Judith Emerson4 years ago

My brother-in-law never made it past Colonel because he totally lost his cool while testifying before Congress. Half his men who returned home alive from Vietnam were dead from cancer before they reached the age of 27! Yes, Col. Gary Walk was a brave & honorable man who commanded a buncha young guys who mostly came straight from the farms. They were young & strong when they went to Vietnam. Col. Walk made it to his 50s before Agent Orange hit him w/cancer & Parkinson's. He did right by his men & his country. Sad to say our country still doesn't own-up to its promises & responsibilities to the men & women who put their life on the line.

Holy Lawrence
Holly Lawrence4 years ago

Very sad and unnecessary! I have two relatives who are suffering from Agent Orange and to add insult to injury the Government would nto even acknowledge Agent Orange for such a long time...and ofered no support to those infected ..

thanks You for this article ..