Agent Orange,Dioxin and, and Agony 1

Before I retired from TV-Asahi in 2001, I worked in Asia as a Bureau Chief in Bangkok and as a Bureau Chief in Hanoi for many years. Here is a cross-section of the Vietnam War .

Vietnam War was a peculiar war. We don’t know exactly when it started, let’s say around 1959 or 1960. Yet we all know when it ended; the 30th of April 1975.

Fifty-eight thousand American soldiers were killed in the war and one hundred thousand veterans have committed suicide. Over three million Vietnamese, including both the North and the South, were killed. Seven-thousand six-hundred Australian soldiers fought in Vietnam. Seven hundred of them were killed. However, over one and half thousand of those who returned alive have committed suicide. This is twice as many as those killed in action. They died because nobody knew how to save them from their sufferings.

It is now thirty-one years since the end of the war.

The Vietnam War involved chemical warfare beyond anyone’s imagination. Massive amounts of defoliants were sprayed in order to defoliate trees and remove cover for the enemy. The most infamous of all is Agent Orange. There are also Agent-Blue, Agent-White, Agent-Purple, Agent-Green and so on.  We call them “Rainbow herbicides”

98% of spraying of the defoliants was done by aircraft. Did you notice that trees were already half defoliated? (top photo=unknown place)

During World War Two, the U.S. planned to spray defoliants on two separate occasions in Japan. Both times, the plan was abandoned. Instead, as we all know, they dropped two atomic bombs. The U.S. continued with their research on the use of defoliants for military purposes and they used them in Vietnam.

When were the defoliants first sprayed in Vietnam? The Kennedy Administration first OK’ed its use on the 10th of August 1961. It was sprayed in Central Vietnam. For two years now, people in Vietnam have commemorated August the 10th as the “Day for Agent Orange Victims”. Since then the US Government, the Military, and South Vietnamese Government Troops continued to spray them until the end of the war in 1975. Therefore, South Vietnam became the site of the world’s longest chemical warfare from 1961 to 1975. 

This map(above) represents the former South Vietna(the former North Vietnam not included ) and is representation of where the defoliants were sprayed.  

How much defoliant did the US Military spray in Vietnam?
Posted by Picasa The answer is about eighty million liters over fourteen years. What we must not forget is that eighty million liters of that defoliants contained about four hundred kilograms of dioxin, known as the Toxin of the Century. In other word, this dioxin is the most poisonous of all chemicals ever produced on earth. So we can say the South Vietnam is the huge reservoir of dioxin.

I (Mr. Kitamura)took this picture (above) in 2002 at the Aluoi area in Thua Tien Hue Province where these mountains were used to covered with thick jungles. (continued)
Text by Hajime Kitamura(based in Sydney, the former Bangkok, Hanoi and Sydney Bureau Chief of TV-Asahi)

0 件のコメント: