If you were born in the fities you may have heard of Agent Orange. Different generations may also have heard a little, a lot or know nothing regarding Agent Orange but it is in the news once again.
Agent Orange was a toxic defoliant used by the US military in North Vietnam. It was supposed to kill the dense undergrowth which all too often provided cover for the Vietcong. In truth it did a lot more than its purpose.
The Vietnam war ended in 1975 yet all these years later the effects of Agent Orange are far reaching. The US authorities are always quick to accuse states such as Syria and Iraq of having chemical weapons that they will use, but once again the accusations are based on hypocrisy. It is that the holier than though attitude which means that they can destroy with a seemingly clear conscience. How you perceive things in this life is often key.
Gallons of Agent Orange was used by the US during the War and almost 40 years later America is trying to set the record straight. The chemical was sprayed from planes flying over head damaging all in its path.
Millions of chidren in Vietnam have been affected by Agent Orange and at least 150,000 have been born with birth defects. Vietnamese authorities have fought long and hard to receive compensation but their efforts have been in vain. Now the US has committed to assisting the clean up operation. This has generally been assesed as a "better late than never" operation.
The current US policy is to compensate US miltary personnel affected by Agent Orange but not the people of Vietnam who were also victims.
So why now? Relations between the US and Vietnam resumed in the nineties. Now that China is flexing its muscles in the South China Seas it could pay the US to "cozy up" to the Vietnamese.
Opinion: It strikes this blogger as ironic that the USA who are so quick to preach, interfere and begin sanctions are the only country to have used atomic bombs for "real" and also have a track record as far as chemical abuse goes.
Images of Agent Orange damage and information can be found here
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog