The United States Congress is considering voting in funds next year to help Vietnam clean areas heavily contaminated by toxic defoliant Agent Orange, a US official said in Hanoi.
"We are going to provide assistance to help clean up sites where dioxin continues to pose serious health threats to people living there," said Tim Rieser, aide to Democrat senator Patrick Leahy.
"We also want to look for ways to extend assistance to people with disabilities," he told journalists in Hanoi.
Nothing has officially been decided, but the article mentions that the Administration and Congress are in agreement that something needs to be done. This tidbit I feel is most significant:
It would be the first ever large-scale environmental cleaning operation concerning Agent Orange in Vietnam funded by the US. The Vietnam War ended in 1975.
Of course, the effects of Agent Orange remain controversial in the absence of definitive scientific proof. But the fact remains that we have a responsibility to our veterens as well as to the people of Vietnam to 'clean up our mess.' This is yet another example of the fallout and long-term consequences of political, idealogical war. A lesson clearly not learned in the last 30 years in this country by Republicans. There have already been many reports of health problems suffered by veterens of the first Gulf conflict. It will be devastating to observe the full damage and effect of the current Iraq war, as its full havoc will be wrought for years and years and years to come.
This also highlights such a crucial issue which is not always fairly and consistently covered by the media - that of the physical and mental health of our veterens and the civilians of armed conflict. So much more needs to be done for those whom our bombs and artillery pierce by skin and in their nightmares. That's why I suggest using the comment space below to highlight any information, data, resources, and news relating to this story or to the healthcare of people involved in armed conflict.
For more on Agent Orange: