Sunday, February 26, 2017

Week 8 - Jonathan Khuu

In “Scorched Earth”, Fred Wilcox examines the physical and psychological effects of the use of agent orange during Vietnam War.  The reading shows the devastating impact that the chemical warfare has on a nation, the impact of agent orange is still seen to this day in Vietnam.  Wilcox wanted to show how Agent Orange impacted the future of Vietnamese post war.  Agent Orange is a blend of tactical herbicides the U.S. military sprayed from 1962 to 1971 during Operation Ranch Hand in the Vietnam War to remove trees and dense tropical foliage that provided enemy cover (Public Health VA).  Those who were touched by Agent Orange gave birth to children “born with heads shaped like mice, pigs, and sheep, about two-headed babies” (Wilcox 2).  

What surprised me most was the continued use of Agent Orange, despite the disastrous effects the manufacturers knew of.  The military brushed it under the rug saying that “ORANGE is relatively non-toxic to man and animals.  No injuries have been reported..” (Wilcox 21).  The Vietnamese War, itself, left deep scars in soldiers and civilians.  Wilcox noted how civilians noticed children wandering the streets with their heads cracked open.  This constant back and forth of who should bear the burden of the war overshadows the United States approval to use such herbicides to ruin the future of Vietnamese generations.  The United States resulted in using “earth scorching” to take away any chance of survival for Vietnams, namely the Viet Cong and the future generations.  

The issue of chemical warfare and war itself is still seen in society today.  Syria experienced its share of chemical attacks.  There have been numerous occasions where chlorine was dropped in Aleppo.  The fact that chemical warfare is still being used shocks me because of the disastrous effects that we have seen taken place.   Questions that come to mind are simply Why nations still resort to chemical warfare?  How could the UN help lessen the amount of chemicals used in warfare?

Week 8 Blogpost - Jaselle

Jaselle Abuda
Professor Valverde
ASA 150E
26 February 2017
Fred Wilcox’s book Scorched Earth exposes the true motives of United States’ form of action in eliminating any further spread of communism throughout Asia. However, instead of their intentions of removing the spread of communism in Asia, and possibility that it may spread throughout the Western hemisphere, they had cause so much more damage and threat than the communist regime could have ever done to the country of Viet Nam. President Kennedy approved of this war tactic in hopes to better strengthen the chances of the U.S. winning the war, but in doing so, they had strategically come to desperate measures of using dangerous chemical war tactics to win. Convincing President Kennedy that the use of chemical defoliants in Viet Nam does not violate the terms and regulations for what are accepted in an herbicidal warfare, therefore, is an accepted tactic of war (Wilcox 10). Furthermore, the U.S. did not want themselves to be “barbaric imperialist”, because once the civilians are harmed it will be considered as a war crime. Acknowledging the fact that destroying the crops violated international law and is considered as a war crime, they failed to accept their faults and instead masks the program into thinking that it is only for defoliation rather than the destruction of enemy crops (Wilcox 10).  The motives of the herbicidal warfare were to destroy the rainforest and vegetation that the Vietcong uses to hide, but instead, it had targeted the crops and livelihood of innocent Vietnamese civilians. In a secret operation named Operation Pink Rose, publicly exposed the actual intentions of the herbicidal warfare that it’s objectives were not only to destroy forests but to also eradicate food crops.

While reading Wilcox’s book, it reminded me of a documentary I once watched called Fish Boy. The focus of the documentary was mainly on a boy named Minh Anh, who has a rare skin condition where instead of his dead skin falling off it is turned scaly and hard causing him to dramatically overheat. The documentary then mentions that many of the orphans of the Peace Village Children’s Ward in Saigon maybe affected by the chemical substance Dioxin from Agent Orange.
Image source: "A Boy With A Rare Skin Condition Faces Daily Struggles With A Never-Ending Hope". The San Francisco Globe. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

Question: Are there any further compensations and aid that has been done by the U.S. to help those who were affected by Agent Orange?

"A Boy With A Rare Skin Condition Faces Daily Struggles With A Never-Ending Hope". The San Francisco Globe. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Michelle Wang-Week 8

Wilcox discusses that Agent Orange was a chemical warfare that the Americans used to defeat the Vietcongs but ended up impacting the Vietnamese and American veterans (2). As a result, Agent Orange was a tragedy and killed many crops in Vietnam, lead to diseases and sufferings, miscarriages, and birth defects. The Vietnamese were concerned about their future Agent Orange for their generations and the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Wilcox discusses that the impact of Agent Orange created burdens for economy and society and the Vietnamese were doubtful that the United States provided support during the war (94). Because the Vietnamese were doubtful towards US support toward the war, there was the question as if Agent Orange violated international law? It was time to tell the world the truth about the sufferings behind Agent Orange. The United States focused on strengthening its power, defeating the Vietcongs, and did not consider the aftermath of Agent Orange in Vietnam. The truth behind Agent Orange relates to the Southeast Asian community as the truth had always been ignored and it is important to educate society about narratives and the truth. As the truth is ignored this does not give Southeast Asian folks the opportunity to have their voice and there may a repeat in history. It is not ideally to learn from history and not for the reoccurrence of tragedy.  In other words, countries are not able to understand the truth behind history or claim responsibility for their acts. 
Many Iranians also suffer from chemical warfare and been innocent victims. Wright discusses that “Iran suffered more than 50,000 casualties from Iraq’s repeated use of nerve agents and toxic gasses in the 1980s” (1).  This lead to birth deformities, diseases, and impacted Iranian civilians. The Iraqis focused on its power and government’s motives. It is important to educate society about the truth behind chemical warfare and for countries to be responsible for chemical warfare on innocent victims.

Question: How can we continue to educate society about the truth and history? 
Images Citation: Aftermath-Vietnam War Site. N.d. N.p.
Works Cited:

Wilcox Fred.  N.p.: n.p., 2011. Print.

Wright, Robin. "Iran Still Haunted and Influenced By Chemical Weapons Attacks." Times Inc, 2017. Web. 25 Feb. 2017. <>.

Week 8 - Helen Vu

Helen Vu
Professor Valverde
ASA 150E
24 February 2017

 Week 8 Blog Post - Scorched Earth
“Scorched Earth,” by Fred WIlcox brings attention to the use of chemical warfare particularly Agent Orange, which has impacted generations even post Viet Nam War. Agent Orange was stated to be the most widely used herbicide in Vietnam, and the product was contaminated with TCDD-dioxin which is proved to be a carcinogenic, fetus-deforming, and even possibly a mutagenic chemical. During the times of the Vietnam War, the herbicide was used as assistance to kill off North Vietnam’s soldiers, Viet Congs. This led to spraying directed at crops and forests, which affected the food production and food access to the communities who were living in those regions. After the war, those who came into contact with Agent Orange were met with more negative implications for they gave birth to “babies born with heads shaped like mice, pigs, and sheep, two headed babies” (Wilcox 2). The U.S. during that time also contaminated their own army, and then left them to die but it is Viet Nam who has really been “enduring the aftermath of a chemical holocaust”. Victims of Agent Orange are often forgotten about, and the war crimes against them has not been properly addressed. “Vietnam’s forgotten war victims,” have been assisted with law representation, and has filed lawsuits against Dow Chemical and other wartime manufacturers of Agent Orange. The lawyers participating in the cases themselves hopes that these victims would be granted redress for the consequences of the use of herbicide during wartime. What remains hard for me to conceptualize is that these victims will probably not be granted redress nor apology for the harm caused to them. However, the reading wishes for everyone to not to only understand the harm caused to these victims but to also acknowledge the, “courage, resilience, determination, love, and what appears to be a remarkable optimism in the face of insurmountable odds” (Wilcox 7).

This reading is important to both contemporary news, and Southeast Asian Americans experiences is that for one, these victims must not be forgotten and deserve their justice bu many people like myself did not know that events like this had happened. To become more educated regarding the aftermath of the Vietnam War which not only resulted in death, but also the long standing implications that will probably affect generations due to chemical warfare. Many of us are familiar with the war in Syria, and individuals there have also been subjected to gas attacks which affected the lives of many including young children of whom have been left gasping for air. My question regarding this reading would be how can nations be held more accountable during the aftermath of war, because their actions have consequences on real human lives. And what can be done so that international law is upheld properly and efficiently to address these violations of human rights across borders?

Works Cited

  • Fred A. Wilcox. Scorched Earth: Legacy of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam. 2011. 24 February 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017

Week 8 - Camilla Mariscal

Chemical warfare has had devastating effects on humans since the invention of mustard gas, but none have had such lasting current day effects as Agent Orange. Agent Orange, a combination of herbicides and dioxin used in the Vietnam War was used by the U.S. to drive Northern Vietnamese soldiers out of hiding, but devastated all of Vietnam. It wiped out crops, jungles, animals, and caused horrible malformations to human fetuses. The worst part, was the U.S. government attempted to cover it all up. In April of 1969, the U.S. military released a statement saying "ORANGE is relatively non-toxic to man and animals. No injuries have been reported to personnel exposed to aircraft spray." The true scientific effects of Agent Orange weren't fully understood until the 1970's, and a full scale lawsuit wasn't filed against the manufactures of Agent Orange until January 30th, 2004. This lawsuit was dismissed. Even today, the U.S. ships pesticides that were banned in it's own countries such as India so they don't loose any profits. Children are still being affected by pesticides, be it from left over Agent Orange, or from new toxic chemicals still being produced today.