Monday, June 18, 2007

An Appeal To End the Vietnam Air War

Danielle Trussoni's dad fought in Viet Nam and it took his life last year at the age of 61.

Trussoni's father died of the effects of Agent Orange as she related in an editorial in today's New York Times:

"I had seen a video of the C-123 cargo planes swooping low, just above a blanket of crenellated canopy, the fusillade of white clouds fanning out, pretty as powdered sugar. The chemicals worked through the top layers of foliage, moving down to the rice paddies and sinking into the red soil. In the video, the defoliant appeared almost tonic, like cool talcum powder falling from heaven.

"My father walked in the wake of those planes. He remembered the defoliants’ descent over the jungle, slow as snow. He recalled the white coated leaves, the way his throat burned when he breathed the humid air, the strange discoloration he found when he blew his nose. He remembered bathing in a bomb crater, dead birds floating on the surface. Last year, after five years fighting throat cancer that he and his doctors attributed to exposure to the dioxin in Agent Orange, my father died. He was 61.

"Today the federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan, is scheduled to hear oral arguments against Dow, Monsanto and 35 other companies that manufactured Agent Orange and related herbicides used during the Vietnam War. In addition, 16 appeals by American veterans will be heard, as well as an appeal by a group that represents Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange.

"One of the Vietnamese civilians taking part in this appeal is a woman named Dang Hong Nhut, who lived in Cu Chi during the war, the very same part of Vietnam where my father spent his tour. After losing numerous babies to miscarriage and deformity, Dang Hong Nhut sent a biopsy abroad for analysis. The results showed that, years after the war, her body still retained traces of dioxin. In a television interview, she said: 'It doesn’t matter if the companies won’t admit their crimes. What really counts is that people see that a crime took place.'”

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