Sunday, October 27, 2019

Defects Caused by a Defective Government

Defects Caused by a Defective Government Kyleigh Grandon Erin Miller Between the years of 1961 and 1971, over 11 million gallons of an extremely harmful pesticide were sprayed throughout what equates to 10% of Southern Vietnam, or 4.2 million acres. The pesticide, Agent Orange, would go onto lead quite a legacy, ranging from severe birth defects and various types of cancer. The United States is responsible for these health issues that influence over 2.1 million peoples lives today. Veterans that fought in the Vietnam War cannot control who they pass the illnesses on to, so many of their poor, unknowing children and grandchildren are impacted as well. The Department of Defense needs to take responsibility for the effects of Agent Orange and increase the funding to stop the suffering. Agent Orange was accidentally created in 1943 by Arthur Galston. Originally only supposed to be a plant growth stimulant, the pesticide wiped the plants out. This caught the eye of scientists at Fort Detrick in Maryland and they began to study Galstons work. With the help of the British Air Force, Agent Orange was born. Though initially not toxic, it becomes hazardous during production with the addition of the chemical dioxin. Galston boycotted the use for years, but it was not stopped until the presidency of Richard Nixon in 1971. During this time, millions were exposed leading to many severe health problems that most still have today. Money was not given to Vietnam by the country responsible, the United States, until 2007. The U.S. did not even mention helping the Vietnamese until 2006. The fact that 35 years passed before discussions even began is outrageous. When high levels of dioxin were found in soil in two locations in the United States: Love Canal and Time Beach, the Vietnamese almost immediately provided clean-up services and help for American veterans. Over 12 years went by before the United States government considered helping the more severely affected Vietnamese people. There is absolutely no reason why such a long period of time had to go by before the Department of Defense brought the severe effects of Agent Orange before Congress so they could provide proper funding and resolution. One Vietnamese study estimates that up to five million people have health issues that are caused by exposure to Agent Orange. Of the 5 million people suffering, 3.5 million are veterans that have such severe problems, many parish every day.   If they are lucky enough to survive, they are faced with the fact that their health issues can still be passed on to their children and their childrens offspring. Approximately 350,000 family members of these veterans have health issues, many being small children. Most that are affected have a cleft palate, congenital heart disease, and / or spina bifida and many do not live until the age of 18. These are only three of the possible 31 diseases listed by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs. With many victims living in small, poverty-stricken villages, they are unable to afford proper medical care and every day parents are forced to watch their small children pass. With all the acts Congress passed between 2007 and 2011, they gave $31,000,000 in total. With the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, Vietnam received a well deserved $20,000,000 on top of that. However, it still is not enough, with 17 of 23 soil samples taken from Da Nang, Vietnams fifth highest populated city and busy tourist area, being deemed harmful and far above international standards.  Ãƒâ€šÃ‚   This is devastating, considering there are 1.047 million people living there and when tested, the test results of some Da Nang residents was 100 times above acceptable. A bone marrow and tissue test is typically done to help diagnose people who are ill, but many are unable to receive them because a single test costs a grand. Since most of the funds from the U.S. go towards clean-up, people who suffer with health issues are left stranded, hoping they can get free healthcare just to stay alive. The fact that the clean-up completion date only keeps getting pushed even further into the future and that more people just become exposed everyday is pitiful. This just goes on to prove that Department of Defense does not want to take full responsibility because they are only looking out for themselves and cannot realize the humane thing to do. Since the United States is the highest donator towards the Agent Orange clean-up, many think that they have done enough. With a total of almost 62 million dollars donated, that is completely understandable. 75% of cleanup is complete as of mid-2016, so the question some are asking is why the United States should come up with more funding. When Americans do not have the healthcare coverage they need, the government feels like why should they have to pay for another countrys healthcare. With every one person exposed and the chance to still pass it down from generation to generation it simply means the effects will never end. With millions suffering every day with defects from a defective government, the Department of Defense needs to reach out a longer helping hand to reach those in villages who need increased help. Additionally, the highest concentrated area is next to an airport that has four million attendees a year, one million of those people being foreigners. This only means that the effects of dioxin are potentially spreading all throughout the world for more to get ill. The United States does not recognize any legal liability for damages alleged to be related by Agent Orange. Why is that when they are 100% responsible? Vietnam did not spray Agent Orange on their own country, America did it all. Every time someone gets a disability from Agent Orange, it is all because of us. Dear Department of Defense, accept reality, be humane, and take full responsibility for the mess you have caused.

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