Your Opinion: Brutal legacy of Agent Orange

Dear Editor:

To reframe Shakespeare a bit: The evil that nations do lives on after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.

Long after the last stock has crashed and the last American dollar has been devalued and left floating, worthless paper in the deserted canyons of Wall Street, our empire will be remembered for the trash we have strewn, the water we have polluted and the air we have befouled.

We will not be remembered in Vietnam primarily for our legacy of long past insult, murder and atrocity.

The people of that land, like their model before them, the all-compassionate Buddha, have already forgiven us for those sins.

We will be remembered for the gift of Agent Orange, vile produce of Monsanto and Dow Chemical that continues to cripple and deform countless children in this otherwise Edenic land.

Three to four million Vietnamese people have been affected by Agent Orange that resulted in 400,000 killed or maimed and at least 500,000 children born with birth defects. The pictures of these kids will break your heart. In the US, Vietnam veteran figures are hard to come by since many victims are not part of the Agent Orange registry and the VA doesn’t track by Agent Orange.

The Vietnamese may forgive us our sins, but the continuing brutal legacy of residual chemical deformity and death embedded in their native soil makes it impossible for these gentle people to forget us. Their repeated requests for us to clean up this remaining toxic residue have been rejected by our courts. Only a hue and cry from the conscience of an outraged American people can make the vile authors of this chemical carnage and our military, who contaminated unwitting soldiers and Vietnamese civilians alike, step up, admit their guilt and begin the arduous, necessary task of righting this terrible wrong.

Please go to www.projectagentorange.com to read about this problem and see what you can do.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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