Agent Orange is the code name and conventional name for a powerful herbicide and defoliant used by the United States military in its herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War. A 1 to 1 mixture of two phenoxy herbicides in ester form: 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T), Agent Orange was used from 1961 to 1971, and was by far the most used of the so-called "rainbow herbicides" used during the program. Agent Orange (as well as Agent Purple, Agent Pink, Agent Blue and Agent Green) contained by-product dioxins which caused serious harm to the health of exposed Vietnamese, South Koreans, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians and Americans, as well as their children and grandchildren. Dioxins are recognized as strong carcinogens and teratogens (meaning it causes birth defects) - which are persistent in the environment and in the human body.
War Crime Ignored
Most of the victims of agent orange were Vietnamese civilians. Millions were exposed to ot, and even now the deadly effects are being felt in the children of those who were not even born in the Vietnam War. No compensation has been offered by the US for what we must consider a horrific example of chemical warfare.U.S. veterans organizations successfully focused U.S. public attention on U.S. veterans. In the areas of Vietnam sprayed children are more than three times as likely to have cleft palates, more than three times as likely to be mentally retarded, more than three times as likely to have extra fingers or toes and more than nearly eight times as likely to suffer hernias.
Elmo R. Zumwalt III son of Admiral Elmo Zumwalt Jr. (Chief U.S. Naval Operations, during Vietnam) died of cancer in 1988, likely due to Agent Orange exposure. Prior to his son's diagnosis Admiral Zumwalt had not believed Agent Orange could cause cancer in part because his son had been exposed to it and showed no ill health. Admiral Zumwalt and his son wrote a book called "My Father, My Son" where they discussed their family tragedy. The Admiral said he felt his son's illness was most definitely due to Agent Orange, and that he felt terrible guilt and shame over his decision to have US Navy planes use the infamous defoliant during the war.
It should be noted that even though he was dying and his son suffered from severe learning disabilities that could possibly be traced to agent Orange as well, the younger Zumwalt said he bore his father no bitterness and did not blame him.