9 September 2012 - Agent Orange - Vietnam - 37 Years Later

Copyright - Horst Faas (c)

Quote of the day:

"Those who lose today may win tomorrow."



G'day guys,

I've never been politically correct and have no intention of changing my ways. According to news reports, the United States and Vietnam recently began cleaning up the toxic chemical defoliant Agent Orange on part of Da Nang International Airport, marking the first time Washington has been involved in cleaning up Agent Orange in Vietnam. Many of you will know little about the Vietnam War. However, I am including several videos that may bring you up to speed.  Sadly, the use of a dangerous chemical defoliant, Agent Orange, has not only had an impact on the locals, Vietnamese, but also on the soldiers from from the west, US, Australian and others, who fought against the North Vietnamese forces. Here is a report, courtesy of Reuters:

"U.S. starts its first Agent Orange cleanup in Vietnam (Reuters ©) Hanoi Thursday August 9th 2012

The U.S. military sprayed up to 12 million gallons of the defoliant onto Vietnam's jungles over a 10-year period during the Vietnam War, and the question of compensation for the subsequent health problems is a major post-war issue. Respiratory cancer and birth defects amongst both Vietnamese and U.S. veterans have been linked to exposure to Agent Orange.

"We are both moving earth and taking the first steps to bury the legacies of our past," U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear said at a ceremony at Da Nang airport on Thursday. "I look forward to even more successes to follow."

"The U.S. government is providing $41 million to the project which will reduce the contamination level in 73,000 cubic meters of soil by late 2016," the ruling Vietnam Communist Party's mouthpiece Nhan Dan daily said.

"The contaminated soil and sediment will be excavated and heated in a pile structure to a high temperature to destroy the chemical," the U.S. embassy said in a statement on Thursday.

"Vietnam's defense ministry has cleared unexploded ordinance from the airport site, to allow the clean up, and will build a power station to serve the project," said Shear.

Da Nang in Vietnam's central region is a popular tourist destination. During the Vietnam War, that ended in 1975, the beach city was used as a recreational spot for U.S. soldiers. Agent Orange was stored at DaNang airbase and sprayed from U.S. warplanes to expose northern communist troops and destroy their supplies in jungles along the border with Laos.

"The United States and Vietnam were looking at a second cleanup site, Bien Hoa, in the southern province of Dong Nai," said Shear.

The Bien Hoa airport is regarded as another 'hotspot' for dioxin contamination, along with Phu Cat airport in the central province of Binh Dinh.

"The contamination level at Bien Hoa airport is higher than Da Nang airport, but only a small area of Bien Hoa has been buried to prevent the toxic waste spreading," the Ho Chi Minh City Law newspaper said."


Video 1 - US soldiers spraying Agent Orange:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUZA0GAMmfI&feature=related

Video 2 - Facts about what happened:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJxb7CY13uc 

(Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Michael Perry)

Question: why did it take so long?

Comment: war sucks big time, but I guess you already knew that!

I'm Clancy Tucker.