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?

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