Fred Wilcox on the Legacy of Agent Orange
August 10th is the official Day to Commemorate Agent Orange Victims. In honor, Fred Wilcox, author of Scorched Earth and Waiting for an Army to Die, spoke on radio program Making Contact.
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For more than four decades, details of that project have been kept firmly under wraps. But now, newly disclosed scientific studies — and accounts from U.S. veterans who participated in Operation Red Hat — are casting light on the mission and exposing what truly occurred. These revelations include the alleged dumping of chemical weapons off the coast of Okinawa, the presence of the potent blister agent, lewisite, and the inclusion of Agent Orange – the Vietnam War defoliant which the Pentagon denies was ever present on the island.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has concluded presumptive exposure to Agent Orange can cause health hazards that may be crippling and life threatening. The Institute of Medicine reports Agent Orange can cause serious diseases. This undermines previous statements by the Department of Defense stating Agent Orange is relatively non-toxic to man, a deliberate conclusion, therefore took no precautions to prevent exposure as stated by the U.S. Comptroller General in November 1979.
Ailing veterans point to Vietnam-era cargo planes, Agent Orange contamination
But after the war, some of the planes were used on cargo missions in the United States. Now a bitter fight has sprung up over whether those in the military who worked, ate and slept in the planes after the war should also be compensated. Two U.S. senators are now questioning the Department of Veterans Affairs’ assertions that any postwar contamination on the planes was not high enough to be linked to disease.