Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sarn Saechao - Week 8 Post

Using an anecdotal approach, Fred Wilcox’s Scorched Earth examined the US military’s chemical warfare against Vietnam. The bilateral lethal chemical agent used in the war was named Agent Orange, in which Vietnamese and Americans were impacted. Agent Orange is a commercial grade herbicide contaminated with toxins that induce lethal environmental and bodily repercussions. These effects include, but are not limited to fetal deformities, contaminated breast milk, destroyed forests and habitats, and extermination of animals. More than forty years after this scorched earth military strategy was used, Agent Orange continues to destroy and debilitate Vietnamese lives. This was highlighted in one of many letters to Vietnam Veteran, professor, and director of study abroad program SUNY Brockport, Ken Herrmann by Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange. In June 2004, Bui Thi Bon described how her husband and children are all all paralyzed as a result of Agent Orange. Bui Thi Bon has to provide 24 hour care for them. She urges Herrmann to send her letter and the like to the US president and companies responsible for Agent Orange. She demands an apology and compensation for the damages caused to the Vietnamese people. Several letters underscore this trauma and sorrow the Vietnamese continue to endure because of Agent Orange. Many are afraid that the US will forget the atrocity of Agent Orange. This “forgetting” is demoralizing and shameful on the part of the US. I am wholeheartedly disheartened and am cognizant of the fact that the US will probably never hold themselves accountable for Agent Orange. This was evident in the failed 2004 lawsuit against the companies responsible for Agent Orange. Numerous other lawsuits were filed and failed in court. The US court has failed to hold the US military and companies accountable for Agent Orange. What message does this send to the American public and the global community? What travesties will continue to occur and branch if a nation such as the US gets to deploy a chemical genocide of an entire nation with impunity?


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