by Tom Fawthrop
Published: Sep. 30, 2011 – Foreign Policy in Focus
Laos, a small landlocked country in Southeast Asia known as “the most bombed country on earth,” fittingly hosted an international disarmament conference in November 2010.
This was a follow-up to an Oslo conference in 2008 when 94 nations signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), an international treaty to ban all cluster weapons following in the footsteps of the global campaign to ban landmines which came into force in 1999.
“This convention is a humanitarian instrument in nature that aims to liberate ourselves from fear and threat of cluster bombs,” Saleumxay Kommasith, director general of the Department of International Organizations at the Lao foreign ministry, told IPS news agency. “We view our role in the cluster ban treaty as a contributor to the global effort to ban cluster munitions.”
by Carol Miller
Published: Aug. 31, 2011 – Counterpunch.org
On Aug. 10, 1961, the United States began spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam, in a campaign called “Operation Ranch Hand.” The spraying lasted nearly 10 years and resulted in death and dis ability for more than 3 million Vietnamese, including the children and grandchildren of those directly exposed.
In addition this deadly defoliant seriously damaged the environment of Vietnam. An area of 7.5 million acres were sprayed affecting nearly 26,000 villages and hamlets. Large areas still contain hot spots of contamination. (Source: Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/ Dioxin)
What was our government thinking?
by Marjorie Cohn
Published: Aug. 10, 2011 – Marjorie Cohn
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the chemical warfare program in Vietnam without sufficient remedial action by the U.S. government. One of the most shameful legacies of the Vietnam War, Agent Orange continues to poison Vietnam and the people exposed to the chemicals, as well as their offspring. H.R. 2634, the Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2011, which California Congressman Bob Filner just introduced in the House, would provide crucial assistance for social and health services to Vietnamese, Vietnamese-American, and U.S. victims of Agent Orange.
From 1961 to 1971, approximately 19 million gallons of herbicides, primarily Agent Orange, were sprayed over the southern region of Vietnam. Much of it was contaminated with dioxin, a deadly chemical. Dioxin causes various forms of cancers, reproductive illnesses, immune deficiencies, endocrine deficiencies, nervous system damage, and physical and developmental disabilities.
Published: Aug. 02, 2010 – Al Jazeera
At least 26 million cluster bombs were dropped on Cambodia by the United States during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 70s.
And decades after the bombs stopped falling, millions of undetonated bombs lying in fields across the country continue to maim thousands of people who are unfortunate enough to step on them.
Published: Jul. 21, 2010 – Al Jazeera
Thirty-five years on from the end of the Vietnam war, the devastating effects still linger.
Agent Orange, the chemical used by US forces during the war, is still poisoning the environment of the country and the health of its people, Vietnam says. The US says that cannot be scientifically proven.
“Perfectly Safe: It Just Kills Plants … “
by Susan Galleymore
Published: May 28, 2010 – Counter Punch
Each year for the last five years the U.S. has welcomed a delegation of Vietnamese affected by spraying chemicals in Vietnam three decades ago. The Fifth Agent Orange Justice Tour ended recently. It focused national attention on grass roots and legislative efforts to achieve comprehensive assistance to victims in Vietnam, to the children and grandchildren of U.S. veterans, and to Vietnamese-Americans.
It is not news that American troops fighting for the U.S. military in Vietnam were told by their commanders that the defoliants and herbicides sprayed by the U.S. Air Force were “perfectly safe…[they] just kill plants.”
The statistics, while heartbreaking, are, likewise, not news for anyone who pays attention to recent history. From 1961 to 1970 more than 20,000 missions that composed Operations “Trail Dust” and “Ranch Hand” dispersed about 13 million gallons of chemicals over five million acres of Vietnam’s forests and agricultural lands; southern Laos and Cambodia were sprayed too.
by Amy Goodman
Published: Mar. 30, 2010 – TruthDig
President Barack Obama has just returned from his first trip as commander in chief to Afghanistan. The U.S.-led invasion and occupation of that country are now in their ninth year, amid increasing comparisons to Vietnam.
Daniel Ellsberg, whom Henry Kissinger once called “the most dangerous man in America,” leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Ellsberg, who was a top Pentagon analyst, photocopied this secret, 7,000-page history of the U.S. role in Vietnam and released it to the press, helping to end the Vietnam War.
“President Obama is taking every symbolic step he can to nominate this as Obama’s war,” Ellsberg told me recently. He cites the “Eikenberry memos,” written by U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, which were leaked, then printed last January by The New York Times.
The invasion of Iraq was the most closely documented war ever fought. Lasting only 800 hours, it produced 20,000 hours of video, but those images were tightly controlled, producing a monolithic view of combat sanitised and controlled by the Pentagon.
Enemy Image traces the ways U.S. television has covered war, starting with Vietnam in the 1960s and shows how the military has devised ever-improving means of ensuring the American public never again has the real face of combat beamed directly into their living rooms.
In 1975, John Pilger reported the end of the Vietnam War from the American Embassy in Saigon, where the last American troops fled from the roof-top helicopter pad. He was made Journalist of the Year and International Reporter of the Year for his reporting of the Vietnam War over a period of almost ten years. In 1995’s ‘Vietnam: The Last Battle’, Pilger returned to Vietnam to review those twenty years, seeking to rescue something of Vietnamese past and present from Hollywood images which pitied the invader while overshadowing one of the most epic struggles of the 20th century.
More by John Pilger:
The history of the terrorism conducted by the CIA, since the end of the World War II when countries in Asia and Latin America, were trying to make changes to improve their economical and political situation, the Unite States of North America realized that it was not good for their status as new super power; and began a new campaign, with only one rule, Anything Goes. This is the story of the terrorism of the CIA.
by Marjorie Cohn
Published: Jun. 14, 2009 – Marjorie Cohn
From 1961 to 1971, the U.S. military sprayed Vietnam with Agent Orange, which contained large quantities of Dioxin, in order to defoliate the trees for military objectives. Dioxin is one of the most dangerous chemicals known to man. It has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen (causes cancer) and by the American Academy of Medicine as a teratogen (causes birth defects).
Between 2.5 and 4.8 million people were exposed to Agent Orange. 1.4 billion hectares of land and forest – approximately 12 percent of the land area of Vietnam – were sprayed.