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