April 15, 2018
American Culture 1960’s Essay
Agent Orange Then and Now
The Vietnam War exampled some of the most horrific ways of warfare in recent history. The use of explosive weapons, flamethrowers and machine guns made the war devastating but, one that has affected veterans to this day is agent orange. Agent orange is a herbicide that was used by the United States in Vietnam to try and destroy the leaves and shrubbery to the efforts of the United States in the war. The United States thought this would help to take down the Vietnamese but, it had opposite effects and is still a problem to this day. Agent Orange has caused a huge health issue to veterans since the spreading of it during the Vietnam war.
The United States Government was well aware of the health issues that the dangerous chemicals could cause but, choice to ignore them. Benjamin Welles talked about this in his New York Times article Pentagon Backs Use of Chemicals, “Defense Department officials said today that there would be no relaxation of the defoliation and crop-destruction program in South Vietnam despite protests by 22 leading American scientists. The scientists, including seven Nobel Prize winners, have drafted a letter to be sent to President Johnson, asking him to halt the growing use of chemical antipersonnel and anticrop weapons in South Vietnam not only to spare civilian suffering but also to prevent a “chemical and biological arms race” throughout the world. White House sources declined to comment on the protest, which has been supported by the Council of the Federation of American Scientists and distributed to thousands of members for their signatures and support” (Welles 10). The scientists were not only afraid of the terrible health issues with the chemicals but starting a whole other war, a war on chemical warfare.
The state was weighing their options with issuing an Agent Orange Bill to help those exposed to the dangerous chemicals. Jeffrey Shear wrote about the bill and how the state officials are waiting to see the effects of the chemical in the New York Times article, State Weighs Agent Orange Bill, “According to the Defense Department, 10.65 million gallons of Agent Orange, in concentrations three to 14 times greater than the amounts prescribed for civilian use, were sprayed in Vietnam between 1965 and 1970. Dow Chemical which manufactured Agent Orange, said the herbicide “was literally dumped on Vietnam.” […] Only Agent Orange has been known to contain dioxin, which has been shown to produce tumors and birth defects in - and to kill - laboratory animals. However, its effect on humans have never been established. As a result, the Veterans Administration has taken a wait and see position on the veterans’ allegations” (Shear 1). This article shows the amount and effect of Agent Orange used in the Vietnam War era. The exposure to this lethal chemical has been proven to cause health problems and the government...