Letter: Agent Orange

Thanks to Pat Hynes, director of Traprock Center for Peace and Justice, for her excellent article of July 8 about Agent Orange and America’s way of conducting the war in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Dow Chemical Company made a lot of money creating chemicals that are still poisoning people in Southeast Asia. I knew someone who was drafted into the war and his job was loading Agent Orange into airplanes. He died of cancer in his early 30s, just another victim of America’s war machine.

In those days, we shared the burden of serving in the military, which is why there was so much protest. Vast numbers of citizens came to know from their own experience how murderous our policies were. Now we have a mercenary army who do our dirty work for us, so we know a lot less about what our military is doing, though it is more or less the same result. The people of the countries we invade hate us for poisoning them and for killing them. We should be thankful for people like Pat Hynes who keep telling the truth.

Rev. DOUGLAS WILSON

Rowe

For more information on exposure and the DVA read A Re-Analysis of Blue Water Navy Veterans and Agent Orange Exposure at www.bluewaternavy.org Perhaps the plight of the Vietnam Blue Water Navy Veterans who have died because of a DVA ruling on herbicide exposure should be considered wrongful deaths and be brought up on civil charges! Exposure to Agent Orange has been linked to numerous health problems, including non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, prostate cancer, Type II Diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and other issues. In 1991, legislation was enacted that empowered the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to declare certain illnesses "presumptive" to exposure to Agent Orange and enabled Vietnam veterans to receive disability compensation for these related conditions. However, in 2002, the VA limited the authority of the Act to only those veterans who could provide orders for "boots on the ground" in Vietnam. As a result, veterans who served in the waters off the coast of Vietnam were forced to file individual claims with the VA to restore their benefits, which are then decided on a case-by-case basis. After 40 years the evidence needed for these Veterans to obtain benefits no longer exists. Please help correct this inequity. I urge you, the public, to communicate to Representative Jeff Miller R-FL, the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, that HR 543, The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2013, now has 238 cosponsors. Call Phone: (202) 225-4136. This is enough for a discharge petition to force it to the House floor. This would be an embarrassing situation to this committee. After 14 years of being disenfranchised by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Blue Water Navy deserves its day on the House floor for a vote. The estimate is that 30,000 Veterans of the Blue Water Navy are being denied health care today. With the fiasco facing this nation with the deaths of Veterans in care of the DVA, let’s not add to the count. Please ask Representative Miller to bring forth this bill for a full vote of the House.

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