Letter: Agent Orange not meant as weapon

Re: ‘US policy is full of gas’ (Metro, Sept. 10)

In his letter, Calvin Davis asserts that the United States used chemical weapons (Agent Orange) in Vietnam from 1961 to 1971, killing 400,000 people and causing 500,000 birth defects. There are several factual errors with his assertions. First, Agent Orange was not used as a chemical weapon, but rather as an herbicide/defoliant to deny the VC large swaths of the countryside. It was not until later that the tragically debilitating effect of Agent Orange on human beings was determined.

If Agent Orange had been intended as a chemical weapon, the U.S. would not have exposed large numbers of its own soldiers to it, as was the case. Incidentally, that the U.S. government refused to take responsibility for the health problems suffered by Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange is scandalous, but it is not related to use of “chemical weapons.”

Second, the absurd death toll reported by Mr. Davis of 400,000 is the number supplied by the Vietnamese government of those killed or maimed, NOT killed.

Josef Bobick, via email



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