Target: U.S. Congress
Goal: Obtain a formal apology from the U.S. to Vietnam for the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
After nearly 40 years and 2 failed Supreme Court cases, the United States still refuses to accept blame for the 3-4 million Agent Orange victims in Vietnam. 20 million gallons of herbicide were dumped by the United States on Vietnam during the Vietnam War, resulting in more than 50 known diseases and genetic deformities for those in contact with the chemicals as well as every one of their family’s future generations.
Vietnamese victims receive $5-7 a month through Vietnam’s Healthcare System for Agent Orange compensation, yet their symptoms are nearly three times worse than those found in American veterans. Furthermore, all studies of Agent Orange related illnesses are based off American veterans symptoms without consideration for differences within Vietnamese victims.
Dioxin, the main chemical in Agent Orange, is as toxic as nuclear waste. Nearly 75% of Vietnam was sprayed by the US during Operation Ranch Hand. Over 10% was sprayed more than ten times. Some areas people are living in have dioxin counts 1000 times higher than the acceptable international levels. Also, nearly all of Vietnam’s flora and fauna is endangered. What might have originally been less than a few hundred thousand victims, has risen in the millions over the years due to continuous exposure and lack of containment, clean up, dialogue, or even basic research.
Despite the declassification of Operation Ranch Hand documents, exposing America’s use of Agent Orange, the United States has yet to accept blame or apologize for its conduct during the Vietnam War. The US has even accused Vietnam of falsifying victim data and symptoms in order to receive money from the US government. Until this denial is over, the people and families of Vietnam will continue to live, breathe, and eat from toxic land and food. Force the United States to take blame for Agent Orange in order for Vietnamese victims to be treated with the same respect and financial priority as American Vietnam veterans.
Dear U.S Congress,
Almost half a century has gone by since the Vietnam War, yet the number of people affected by Agent Orange within Vietnam have quadrupled instead of decreased due to constant exposure to the chemicals in Agent Orange. Not only are victim numbers rising, but Vietnamese victims are denied the same care as American veterans who were exposed to a much lesser degree. Most Vietnamese victims only receive $5-7 dollars a month in victim compensation, and they are disregarded on an international scale as unimportant or false Agent Orange victims, simply because the United States refuses to run medical studies on Vietnamese issues and accuses Vietnamese government of exaggerating the severity of this problem.
The Vietnam War might be over, but Vietnam is still living in an immediate post-war universe with pre-war hostilities directed towards her. The land, the Vietnamese people and the animals are sick, deformed, or dying. Little to no aid has ever been given from the US to remediate the damage . With an already established awareness of the effects of Agent Orange, as well as the declassification of Operation Ranch Hand documents, the United States now has the hindsight to understand the level of permanent damage Agent Orange has inflicted on a nation, its land, and its people. Therefore, it has the human and moral obligation to acknowledge its role in this devastation.
With relations on good terms between the US and Vietnam, it is time to heal millions of people with a simple apology or acknowledgement of wrongdoing. The fight to clean up the deadly toxin that has seeped into everything is hard enough of a task without the extra war of personal governmental battles. The United States would not let any other nation live in such squalor, with toxic levels in some areas 1000 times higher than the international legal limits. So why Vietnam?
It is time to be real and heal. It is time to be equal. Then and only then can the long awaited steps be taken to rescue millions of people and acres of land, struggling against a deadly future.
[Your Name Here]