Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Phoenix Program; Agent Orange Part III

The Meselson report substantiated the affect of miscarriages and still births in Vietnam, but the 2,4,5-T poisoning of Alsea, Oregon was proof positive. In March 1979, the EPA ordered suspension of some uses of 2,4,5-T after studies of pregnant women in Alsea, Oregon linked increases in miscarriges to periods of defoliant spraying. These unnecessary events are the result of the vested interest industry has in the use of 2,4,5-trichlorophenol in consumer products. Manufacture of paper, adhesives, paints, varnish and laquer incorporates dioxin contaminated chlorophenols. Today dioxin is found by scientists in mother's milk and beef near sprayed range lands and forest woodlands.
Nearly 3 million Americans served in Vietnam and many thousands of veterans and their families have paid a terrible price for that service. A study of these vets concluded that 40 percent had serious emotional difficulties such as alcohol or narcotics abuse and 75 percent complain of nightmares, problems maintaining relationships or jobs. Routine exposure to dioxin was more deadly than war itself and may have already claimed more American lives than war.
Mike Asman was eighteen when he enlisted in the marines in 1966. He was living in a small town in Texas, feeling restless, wanting to get away. He left Texas for basic training and was immediately sent to Danang. He was a weapons repairman who went out on patrols, sat inside fortified "firebases", and generally tried to learn how not to get killed. On his first night in country he and his buddy from basic were in separate fox holes when several Vietnamese children approached selling cokes. The marines overpaid in a gesture of generosity. One of the children, no more than eight years old, dropped a grenade in his buddy's fox hole and killed him. He rarely spoke of his experiences in Vietnam, but he did note that a lot of people who got killed were the best people around him, death it seemed, did not play favorites. When Mike returned home after his tour in Vietnam he returned with a heroin habit and an inability to sleep. When family members entered a room where Mike was sleeping he would roll out of bed and reach for the .45 under the pillow that was no longer there. Occasional brushes with the law, marital trouble and an ongoing drug and alcohol problem followed him for the next 20 years.Mike eventually came to terms with the demons that haunted him from Vietnam, he beat his addictions and moved his family into a house in the country. Time, group therapy, and family helped Mike to turn his life around. About 5 years later Mike began to feel tired all the time. Mike Asman was told he had Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, due to an error reading an X-ray it had been found too late, and he had 6 months to live. Before he became too weak, Mike sold his house and all his belongings and moved his wife and five young children to Utah to be near his wife's parents for emotional support, then he prepared to die. In six months his 6'2" frame had shrunk to a skeletal form and Mike's face was barely recognizable. He was being given morphine and oxygen around the clock. Mike died on November 11th, on his 51st birthday leaving a wife and 5 children. His name does not appear on the Vietnam Memorial, nor do the names of thousands of others. Shortly after his death the government program set up to compensate the veteran victims of Agent Orange related disease was shut down, and compensation was no longer available. Since most Agent Orange related disease takes 20-30 years to emerge, the vast majority of affacted veterans were never compensated. DOW Chemical continues to sell 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D all over the world. Danang remains a heavily contaminated "hot spot" to this day. (GI Guinea Pigs)

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