Sunday, May 1, 2011

New Phoenix Program; Agent Orange Part II

The Rand Corporation is a government "think tank" that in 1967 estimated 325,000 Vietnamese villagers had been affected by spraying. Millions had been forcibily relocated by the spraying and bombing into "Strategic Hamlets" or resettlement camps under US contro. Strategic Hamlets had been designed to separate the civilian population from the guerilla fighters and deny them support in the field. The program had been a dismal failure as the hamlets themselves were infiltrated. When victory began to turn to stalemate and defeat, the defoliation operation was used as a means of punishment. The Rand study indicated that one answer to wars of liberation was to force farmers into urban centers. Conventional military victory and counter-insurgency techniques did not ensure victory. By driving the people off the land the sray program would not allow rural revolutionary movements to gather dufficient strength to succeed. Air Force General Curtis LeMay advocated using nuclear weapons to bomb the Vietnamese "back to the stone age". This same psychology was the driving force behind the strategy to drive people off the land in order to achieve victory. The "battle for hearts and minds" had long been given up. Rand estimated that 88 percent of the villagers blamed the US for the destruction of their crops and 74 percent expressed outright hatred. Agent Orange was a used as a chemical warfare agent to drive the people into the cities and deny the enemy recruits and support.
Industrial accidents with Agent Orange manufacture had occured with some regularity since 1937. DOW
was the site of the first such accident that poisnoed plant workers and caused a primary symptom, chloracne.
DOW refused to fund a company doctor's request to test the chemicals on lab animals. In 1949, 228 workers at the Monsanto plant in Nitro, West Virginia developed chloracne, severe pain in skeletal muscles, shortness of breath, intolerance to cold, swollen liver, loss of sensation in extremities, fatigue, irriability, insomnia, loss of libido, and vertigo. These symptoms are virtually identical to those of the Vietnam veterans.
An accident in Germany in 1954 led to the identification of dioxin as the cause of illness and the results on its toxicity were made known with the publication of the results in scientific journals in 1957.
In 1965 as the major phase of spraying was about to get underway an accident at a DOW facility led to an investigation that identified dioxin as the source of poisoning and illness. Results of the accident were not published but were communicated to the other manufacturers of the herbicide.
1964 is the date at whih it can be proved that DOW knew about the chemical toxicity of dioxin and surpressed this information.
DOW and the other producers COULD have known about dioxin decades before the war. The scientific and medical literature was clear by 1957 and DOW SHOULD have known about the toxicity. By 1964 DOW DID know about the health effects of dioxin and chose to conceal this information even tough it knew US armed forces were spraying millions of Vietnamese people and 3 million GI's sent to fight for their country. Since he end of the war, science has continued to progress despite obstructions. Sweden showed that exposed workers had a much higher cancer mortality rate than unexposed workers. University of Wisconsin found that rats fed on a diet containing 5 ppt dioxin, half developed malignancies. In vietnam, a type of liver cancer that was unknown before Operation Ranch Hand is now second most common type of cancer in the country.

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