WMD Found

…in Vietnam. At least, the remnants of it. And it was intended only to destruct foliage, but turns out it’s wreaked havoc with a lot more than that.

That of which I speak is, of course, Agent Orange, a toxic defoliant that we sprayed all over Vietnam, often including our own soldiers stationed there. And long since we left it in our wake, the population of Vietnam continues to deal with its horrific effects.

AP Photo

Reuters Photo

Today, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of some 4 million Vietnamese claiming that U.S. chemical companies committed war crimes by making Agent Orange for use during the Vietnam War:
U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein disagreed that the allegedly toxic defoliant and similar U.S. herbicides should be considered poisons banned under international rules of war, even though they may have had comparable effects on people and land.

The Brooklyn judge also found that the plaintiffs could not prove that Agent Orange had caused their illnesses, largely because of a lack of large-scale research.
Just their dumb luck that they didn’t have the funds for large-scale research, I guess.
Lawyers for Monsanto, Dow Chemical and more than a dozen other companies had said they should not be punished for following what they believed to be the legal orders of the nation's commander in chief.

They also argued that international law generally exempts corporations, as opposed to individuals, from liability for alleged war crimes.
This is, of course, the crux of the problem. The companies didn’t drop more than 21 million gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam—the U.S. government did that. The government, however, assumes no responsibility, and defends the companies being sued on the basis that
a ruling against the firms could cripple the president's power to direct the military.
But here’s the thing. America, whether its government or its corporations, is responsible for the damage done to the Vietnamese by Agent Orange. We’re responsible to our own vets on whom we dropped it, and we’re responsible to the millions of civilians on whom we dropped it. We’re not taking any responsibility, though. And in the meantime, we’re filling Iraq with massive amounts of depleted uranium, which is also linked to severe birth defects.

This is the problem with wars of choice. We choose it, but the civilian populations of the countries we totally fuck don’t choose it. Yet they’re left to struggle with the ramifications of our choices for generations.

I don’t know what the answer to this is, but I know that our government patently refusing to acknowledge its mistakes, and continuing to make more of the same, isn’t and will never be part of a good solution.

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