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Louis E. Grivetti

Student Question: Long-Term Impact of War

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After the war, Communist took over. True Communism is impossible to exist. In this world, corruption always exist. The current Vietnamese government is corrupted, always press the people, not willing to allow blooms. The Vietnamese are being limited to education. The government is more to be dictatorship. People wish to fled the country to find freedom and opportunities. Considering the health, the war had left poison in the blood of the people. The people around the areas heavily impacted during the war recieve sickness. Economy is low because of corrustion. The values of Vietnamese dollars are seem to be papers. They have very very little values.

In Vietnam, the people are still seeking help from the outside world.

*These are opinions of a 16year old native-born Vietnamese.

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From Green Left Weekly, November 30, 2005.

Most people think that the war in Vietnam ended 30 years ago, but did it? More bombs were dropped on Vietnam than the total dropped by all sides in World War II. These bombs continue to wreak havoc; more than 84,000 people (mostly farmers and their children) have been killed by unexploded ordinance since 1975.

Even worse than the unexploded bombs is the invisible and silent killer, Agent Orange/Dioxin. Vietnam was the target of the longest and most horrific chemical war in history and these chemicals will continue to affect millions for generations to come.

In March 2003, 50-year-old Nguyen Van Loc told Green Left Weekly about the chemical attack on his village in central Vietnam. “Several times, a large area was coated white. After a couple of days the leaves in the forests and the gardens turned yellow and fell off.” For Loc this vision lives on, not as an unpleasant memory but as daily devastation. His two surviving sons, aged nine and 13, were both born with severe physical and intellectual disabilities. His eldest son died some time ago.

This family is among the estimated 3 million Vietnamese for whom the war lives on in the form of a plague of cancers, deadly diseases and birth deformities.

The use of herbicides is well documented. The chemical assault waged by US forces from 1961 to 1975 was codenamed “Operation Trail Dust”. It included spraying by plane, helicopter, truck, boat and soldiers on foot. The purpose was twofold: the destruction of jungle used as cover by the Vietnamese National Liberation Front fighters; and to destroy crops to deprive them of food.

However, defoliation remains the only acknowledged aim by the US as crop destruction constitutes a violation of international law and is thus a war crime.

We now know that more than 80 million litres of herbicides and defoliants - more than half known to be Agent Orange were dumped on central and southern Vietnam. The most deadly ingredient in the mix was the human carcinogen Dioxin. Dioxin is toxic even in minute quantities. It is also almost impossible to remove from the environment. While it is almost completely insoluble in water and therefore not diluted by rain, it is soluble in oils leading it to concentrate in the fatty tissue of people who ingest it.

And so Dioxin lives on, both in a significant section of the Vietnamese population and in the ecosystem, claiming new prey among those reliant on the contaminated land and water systems to eke out a living.

Dioxin is particularly poisonous for the reproductive system and, as a result, around 10% of Vietnamese victims are children affected because of their parents’ exposure.

Scientific studies have found a frequent occurrence of five congenital malformations that are rare in other countries: nervous system malformation including anencephaly (absence of part or all of the brain); deformed limbs, eyes, ears and noses; conjoined twins; cleft lip; and cleft palate.

Many US and Australian war veterans have reported a host of illnesses believed to be caused by exposure to Agent Orange. The Vietnam Veterans’ Health Study commissioned by Department of Veterans Affairs revealed that veterans have a cancer death rate 21% higher than the average for Australian males. Veterans had to campaign for nearly two decades before gaining recognition of their chemical exposure. US veterans sued seven companies that manufactured herbicides and eventually won an out-of-court settlement of US$180 million before their government provided compensation to 1800 veterans.

Given the reluctance of the US and Australian governments to admit the harm done to their own veterans, it is no surprise that they want to wash their hands of the millions of Vietnamese victims, both current and future. At the 1973 Peace Accords, the US promised to pay Vietnam reparations of US$3.5 billion, but to this day not one cent has been paid.

Vietnam, one of the poorest countries in the world, has to look after millions of Agent Orange victims. Only those worse affected (around one in 10) receive an allowance of between A$6-13 per month. Other efforts have been made to generate support and funds. Huge education campaigns have been launched in Vietnam’s workplaces, trade unions and community organisations. Recognition of the problem is high, but resources remain scarce.

Thirteen million Vietnamese have signed a petition calling on Washington to compensate those affected by Agent Orange. Under “sovereign immunity”, the US government cannot be sued. Instead, the Vietnamese are seeking compensation from the big chemical corporations that manufactured the deadly weapons.

In January 2004, the Vietnam Association for the Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin was formed to lead this fight for justice. VAVA and three victims of Agent Orange launched a test lawsuit in a US court against 37 US chemical corporations. The case was dismissed in March before any oral argumentation was heard. However an appeal has been submitted and will be heard in March 2006.

We must make the US government and the chemical companies honour their moral responsibility to all those affected by Agent Orange. This is even more urgent because Washington is unleashing another toxic war, this time in Iraq using depleted uranium weapons. They have to be told that the world will not allow these weapons of mass destruction to be used against whole nations.

VAVA has launched an appeal for international solidarity and has asked for support for the online petition . It already has close to 700,000 signatures and VAVA hopes to present it to the US government when it has 1 million.

VAVA is also asking Australian Vietnam veterans to lend their support. Any action or statement of solidarity clearly identifying the veterans’ voice would be especially powerful. VAVA can be contacted by email at , or write to VAVA

at 11/41 Linh Lang Street, Cong Vi Commune, Badinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam. VAVA’s website is: . Donations to support VAVA’s work can be made to: Hoi Nan nhan chat doc da cam/dioxin Viet Nam, 001 1000 863681 Bank Transactions Office Vietcombank.

[Green Left Weekly is interested in hearing about your solidarity messages and actions. Please email or send copies to Green Left Weekly, PO Box 394, Broadway 2007.]

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From Green Left Weekly, November 30, 2005.

Most people think that the war in Vietnam ended 30 years ago, but did it? More bombs were dropped on Vietnam than the total dropped by all sides in World War II. These bombs continue to wreak havoc; more than 84,000 people (mostly farmers and their children) have been killed by unexploded ordinance since 1975.

Even worse than the unexploded bombs is the invisible and silent killer, Agent Orange/Dioxin. Vietnam was the target of the longest and most horrific chemical war in history and these chemicals will continue to affect millions for generations to come.

In March 2003, 50-year-old Nguyen Van Loc told Green Left Weekly about the chemical attack on his village in central Vietnam. “Several times, a large area was coated white. After a couple of days the leaves in the forests and the gardens turned yellow and fell off.” For Loc this vision lives on, not as an unpleasant memory but as daily devastation. His two surviving sons, aged nine and 13, were both born with severe physical and intellectual disabilities. His eldest son died some time ago.

This family is among the estimated 3 million Vietnamese for whom the war lives on in the form of a plague of cancers, deadly diseases and birth deformities.

The use of herbicides is well documented. The chemical assault waged by US forces from 1961 to 1975 was codenamed “Operation Trail Dust”. It included spraying by plane, helicopter, truck, boat and soldiers on foot. The purpose was twofold: the destruction of jungle used as cover by the Vietnamese National Liberation Front fighters; and to destroy crops to deprive them of food.

However, defoliation remains the only acknowledged aim by the US as crop destruction constitutes a violation of international law and is thus a war crime.

We now know that more than 80 million litres of herbicides and defoliants - more than half known to be Agent Orange were dumped on central and southern Vietnam. The most deadly ingredient in the mix was the human carcinogen Dioxin. Dioxin is toxic even in minute quantities. It is also almost impossible to remove from the environment. While it is almost completely insoluble in water and therefore not diluted by rain, it is soluble in oils leading it to concentrate in the fatty tissue of people who ingest it.

And so Dioxin lives on, both in a significant section of the Vietnamese population and in the ecosystem, claiming new prey among those reliant on the contaminated land and water systems to eke out a living.

Dioxin is particularly poisonous for the reproductive system and, as a result, around 10% of Vietnamese victims are children affected because of their parents’ exposure.

Scientific studies have found a frequent occurrence of five congenital malformations that are rare in other countries: nervous system malformation including anencephaly (absence of part or all of the brain); deformed limbs, eyes, ears and noses; conjoined twins; cleft lip; and cleft palate.

Many US and Australian war veterans have reported a host of illnesses believed to be caused by exposure to Agent Orange. The Vietnam Veterans’ Health Study commissioned by Department of Veterans Affairs revealed that veterans have a cancer death rate 21% higher than the average for Australian males. Veterans had to campaign for nearly two decades before gaining recognition of their chemical exposure. US veterans sued seven companies that manufactured herbicides and eventually won an out-of-court settlement of US$180 million before their government provided compensation to 1800 veterans.

Given the reluctance of the US and Australian governments to admit the harm done to their own veterans, it is no surprise that they want to wash their hands of the millions of Vietnamese victims, both current and future. At the 1973 Peace Accords, the US promised to pay Vietnam reparations of US$3.5 billion, but to this day not one cent has been paid.

Vietnam, one of the poorest countries in the world, has to look after millions of Agent Orange victims. Only those worse affected (around one in 10) receive an allowance of between A$6-13 per month. Other efforts have been made to generate support and funds. Huge education campaigns have been launched in Vietnam’s workplaces, trade unions and community organisations. Recognition of the problem is high, but resources remain scarce.

Thirteen million Vietnamese have signed a petition calling on Washington to compensate those affected by Agent Orange. Under “sovereign immunity”, the US government cannot be sued. Instead, the Vietnamese are seeking compensation from the big chemical corporations that manufactured the deadly weapons.

In January 2004, the Vietnam Association for the Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin was formed to lead this fight for justice. VAVA and three victims of Agent Orange launched a test lawsuit in a US court against 37 US chemical corporations. The case was dismissed in March before any oral argumentation was heard. However an appeal has been submitted and will be heard in March 2006.

We must make the US government and the chemical companies honour their moral responsibility to all those affected by Agent Orange. This is even more urgent because Washington is unleashing another toxic war, this time in Iraq using depleted uranium weapons. They have to be told that the world will not allow these weapons of mass destruction to be used against whole nations.

VAVA has launched an appeal for international solidarity and has asked for support for the online petition . It already has close to 700,000 signatures and VAVA hopes to present it to the US government when it has 1 million.

VAVA is also asking Australian Vietnam veterans to lend their support. Any action or statement of solidarity clearly identifying the veterans’ voice would be especially powerful. VAVA can be contacted by email at , or write to VAVA

at 11/41 Linh Lang Street, Cong Vi Commune, Badinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam. VAVA’s website is: . Donations to support VAVA’s work can be made to: Hoi Nan nhan chat doc da cam/dioxin Viet Nam, 001 1000 863681 Bank Transactions Office Vietcombank.

[Green Left Weekly is interested in hearing about your solidarity messages and actions. Please email or send copies to Green Left Weekly, PO Box 394, Broadway 2007.]

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