End US Denial of Role in Vietnam’s Agent Orange Crisis

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.

PETITION LETTER

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.

Sincerely

[Your Name Here]

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11 Comments

  1. elizabeth brawn says:

    apology is the most basic common courtesy….do it now….and pay compensation…another common courtesy when one does something wrong one makes amends

  2. ARTHUR LAMIRANDE says:

    It’s long past time that the United States acknowledged its crimes against humanity.

  3. A. Elizabeth Gilliam says:

    As a US citizen, I believe we have to start taking responsibility for our actions.

    We have to take the blame.

    All other countries of the world emulate the US. Think about it.

  4. Have the Americans paid the American Indians for the Bkack Hills ?they originally gave them to the Indians ,then because gold was found they took them back ,the last I heard they never paid up,so what chance do these poor Vietnamese people have,shame on America ,who else bombarded the country with agent orange??-THE Aliens??you would think they would do all they can to right a great wrong to this country that is very poor ,how can anyone respect a country that shows no regret for things done so wrongly in the past.and not to at least try to make ammends.

  5. charles bowman says:

    Our government can hardly cast itself as a positive force in the world much less the purveyor of a desirable ideology when it is oblivious to the welfare of our own troops or of every succeeding generation of people living in the areas of Vietnam effected by this evil tactic of an evil and ill conceived use of American force.

  6. Lionel Gambill says:

    We dishonor ourselves by not taking responsibility for our actions. The Vietnam War was a national tragedy for us. Can you imagine what it was for the Vietnamese? How can we refuse to help these people who, despite all the harm we did them, welcome our visiting veterans today as they would welcome family? Ho Chi Minh began Vietnam’s Proclamation of Independence with these words: “All men are created equal. They are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” He saw the United States as the model for what he wanted his country to be. We owe these people much more than an apology.

  7. Christa Heck says:

    We must pay for our crimes. the damage we wwreak in one part of the world does not remain there. It spreads and will come to us also. May we please learn from this horror.

  8. For more information on Agent Orange search for the CRS Congress Report of 2008 on Agent Orange or the Aspen Institute who has done much of the clean up work.

    This is an absolute horror and to think that medicine and compensation will barely help without the toxins removed from the environment is what is most frustrating…. in this case, the ecosystem must be fixed as well as the land, in order for this to not affect future generations further

  9. Thanks Whidden Flores for initiating this. This petition is long overdue. Check out our efforts on this important cause in Australia at and our Agent Orange Justice — Australia-Vietnam Solidarity Network Facebook group.

  10. Sorry Whidden Flores, cannot agree that Aspen Insititute has done of the clean up in Vietnam, it has not scratched the surface. It is now 50 years since the spraying of Agent Orange began on Southern Vietnam -_10thn August 1961- nand the number of Vietnamese affected has now reached four million and it has gone into the fourth generation. The bulk of any cleanup has been carried out by the Vietnamese.
    The US Government and the US Chemical companies headed by Monsanto refuse to accept responsibility they have also refused to make/pay any compensation to the Vietnamese and their families. some of the victims need 24 hour attention.
    What is needed to get justice for the Vietnamese is interntaional pressure on the US andf Monsanto, for a start lets stop buying any product of Monsanto. Hit them where it hurts: in the pocket.

    if you want to see the results of Agent Orange, have a look at: http://www.aoag.org

  11. Correction on my wording Len, I should say most of the clean up work that has been given from the United States, which then again is only a few million in a multi-billion dollar clean up. You are definitely right that Vietnam and the Asian Development Bank has done most of the work. However on the American side, they are the one of the only international groups achieving large scale dialogue and you cannot discredit their stellar work on the mangrove forests….. it is still barely a surface scratch, but in the States, anything is better than nothing!

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