Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Sunday, 19 June 2011

It's About Time

This news item is a brief mention of steps towards a long-overdue cleanup.

It’s about forty years overdue, but I guess it’s better forty years late than never. At last the Yanks and the Vietnamese are in constructive dialogue about this and other issues.

I remember being sprayed with something whilst patrolling in a rifle platoon in Vietnam all those years ago.

I also remember my toenails falling off after using a herbicide on areas around Nui Dat in August 1970, although I think that stuff was Agent White.

I remember the stillbirth of our first child as a consequence of a congenital defect. To this day we don’t know the cause of this defect, but it’s not hard to assume some sort of connection to exposure to chemicals after reading the Vietnam Veterans’ Morbidity study. Our daughter would be 29 had she survived.

I remember travelling to Vietnam in 2007 and seeing bare areas and great swathes of vegetation around Da Nang grotesquely deformed as a consequence of herbicides sprayed to provide security for the big American Base that used to be there.

I remember we were travelling in a Vietnam Airlines ATR 72 (with a wing mounted above the fuselage giving excellent views) which had to be rerouted because of fog at our destination in Hanoi.

I remember this meant that we had two take-offs and two landings during which we could observe the surroundings of the old base, covered as they were with weirdly-deformed vegetation.

I remember that it was as clear as a bell at Da Nang. We got a very good look at it.

I remember two profound stuff-ups perpetrated by the CIA in Vietnam.. They were the Phoenix Programme and Operation Ranch Hand. It's interesting to read the concluding sentences of a review of Phoenix written in 2005 by Lieutenant Colonel Ken Tovo of the US Army.

He writes - 

America must maintain moral ascendency over its opponents and never lose sight of its democratic principles.

I remember that both these CIA programmes were disasters caused by the loss of the democratic values cited above. The effects of the second one are visited on the lives of both Vietnamese and Vietnam veterans to this day.

I remember.

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