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Should the Government Pay Vets Disabled by Agent Orange?

News 2010/08/30 18:00:00
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Agent Orange was the code name for a herbicide used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War that deprived the Viet Cong of food and cover. While the chemical was criticized for endangering the health of soldiers and innocent civilians, it was used until nearly the end of the war.

Now the government has to pay for its neglect. But how much? According to Politico, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said that Vietnam Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and now show symptoms of heart disease and Parkinson's will be compensated by the government.

Some lawmakers, including Democrat Sen. Jim Web, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, question if the new guidelines are directly related to Agent Orange.

“I just want to understand the logic of how they decided this latest service connection,” Webb told Politico. “This is a helluva awkward position to be in where I’ve been an advocate all my adult life on veterans’ benefits. I just want to know how they got to this point.”

The VA estimates 349,000 vets receive Agent Orange disability benefits, and with the new expansion, it could reach 500,000 at an added expense of $42 billion over the next ten years.

Between 1965 and 1971 close to 12 million gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia. It's estimated that 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to the toxic herbicide, resulting in 400,000 deaths and disabilities. Five hundred thousand children were born with birth defects. Vets exposed have had increased rates of cancer, nerve, digestive, skin and respiratory disorders.


Should the Government Pay Vets Disabled by Agent Orange?

Read More: http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=BF20A4...

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  • Little Angel 2010/08/30 23:46:17
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Little Angel
    +7
    pay cost veterans
    They shouldn't have been over there in the first place. I was married to a Viet Nam Vet
    who was exposed to Agent Orange, He died slowly over many years with more health problems than a dozen men should have. I met a lot of the other Viet Nam Vets exposed to that poison and it was very sad!

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  • Jake 2013/06/06 04:16:52 (edited)
    No, we need to be careful about spending money.
    Jake
    Many of these ailments supposedly derived from agent orange afflict people who have never set foot in Vietnam, Cambodia, etc... Heart problems, diabetes, parkinsons, etc... I am a veteran myself and support supporting our vets. I know people personally that look for the latest approved compensation from agent orange and immediately look up the symptoms and go to their doctor and complain of them, resulting in a letter from their Dr. stating they have this disease, which is then forwarded to the VA for a higher rate of disability payments. Their are chemicals in the United States which its citizens are exposed to each and every day because the Gov`t "deems" them safe which actually cause various forms of cancer and other ailments. I am saying the testing for these diseases/ailments should be more stringent and more accountability enforced before one receives more money from taxpayers. AO stays in the body forever concluded from research on it. Any one claiming AO caused conditions/diseases should be tested for it`s presence before being approved for one red penny.
  • piegirl 2010/10/07 16:44:14
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    piegirl
    My father just turned 60 in April. He served in Vietnam. My father has suffered from Parkinson's for over 10 years. My father worked without fail my entire until 8 years ago when his employer could no longer accomodate his restrictions die to parkinson's. I believe the goverment should have stepped up long ago and taken care of these veterans. The VA never once questioned treating his illness as service realted, however he was denied compensation for this being AO related. It is rare for a 50 year old man to develope Parkinson's even rarer for it go from begging to late stage. Tell me that there is some underlying cause that excellerated his disease. My parents have struggled since his forced retirement and the approval of VA compensation for Parkinson's will allow them to live comfortably without worry of where the money will come from for food, electric, gas ETC.
  • Lulu's Mom 2010/09/22 04:43:22
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Lulu's Mom
    Absolutely!!
  • Jasmine 2010/09/21 18:06:07
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Jasmine
    Viet Nam was a huge mistake and many of our servicemen have suffered because of the ongoing mistakes made during that war. I respect everyone's decision about serving in that war - whether they chose to or not. I respect those who did serve and suffered because of it. I am saddened every time I visit the VN Memorial in DC, and cry for all the lives lost. The only ones I don't respect are those who committed atrocities during the war and the leaders who led us into that mess. Of course we should take care of the veterans. It is the honorable thing to do.
  • oldcavpilot 2010/09/21 14:11:55
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    oldcavpilot
    +1
    It was Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, then CNO, that authorized the use of Agent Orange (there were several other agents as well, Orange just worked faster). His son was on a PBR in the Mekong Delta, and they were getting creamed in the canal system there because the jungle had overgrown the canals. The small patrol boats were constantly ambushed by invisible enemies a few feet away.

    AO pushed the jungle back and the ambushes were drastically reduced. Then it became more of a weapon. As an Air Cavalry Scout, I would be sent into an area to look for the enemy, but couldn't see through the jungle. The Air Force would spray it, then I'd fly into the 'telephone pole forest' to investigate enemy activity on the ground from 3 to 10 feet up instead of uselessly trying to look through the jungle canopy.

    Admiral Zumwalt's son died of cancer unquestionably caused by AO. Some 460 guys passed through my unit during my stay. Roughly 100 of us are still alive. I'm one of 3 that has not had cancer. We have our own miseries. I have many of the symptoms of Parkinson's without the Parkinson's (one of my several AO caused medical issues). One of my Observers, who sat next to me for 4 months before being wounded, has had 2 types of cancer, 3 times, 2 Spina Bifida babies that died at birth,...

    It was Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, then CNO, that authorized the use of Agent Orange (there were several other agents as well, Orange just worked faster). His son was on a PBR in the Mekong Delta, and they were getting creamed in the canal system there because the jungle had overgrown the canals. The small patrol boats were constantly ambushed by invisible enemies a few feet away.

    AO pushed the jungle back and the ambushes were drastically reduced. Then it became more of a weapon. As an Air Cavalry Scout, I would be sent into an area to look for the enemy, but couldn't see through the jungle. The Air Force would spray it, then I'd fly into the 'telephone pole forest' to investigate enemy activity on the ground from 3 to 10 feet up instead of uselessly trying to look through the jungle canopy.

    Admiral Zumwalt's son died of cancer unquestionably caused by AO. Some 460 guys passed through my unit during my stay. Roughly 100 of us are still alive. I'm one of 3 that has not had cancer. We have our own miseries. I have many of the symptoms of Parkinson's without the Parkinson's (one of my several AO caused medical issues). One of my Observers, who sat next to me for 4 months before being wounded, has had 2 types of cancer, 3 times, 2 Spina Bifida babies that died at birth, 2 bi-polar children and Diabetes II; all directly related to Agent Orange by the VA. He's still alive.

    If they do pay it, it won't be for long. Of the 2.7 million 'Boots on the Ground' military that served 'In Country', only about 600,000 are still alive, and that number is falling like a rock. BTW; if the guy (any guy) telling you he was in 'Nam was born after 1954, he's lying, and there is a lot of that. More than you can imagine.
    (more)
  • Jasmine oldcavp... 2010/09/21 18:01:28
    Jasmine
    +1
    The tragedies of Viet Nam continue to haunt us. I hurt for all those hurt during that travesty. I wish you well!! Peace and Happiness.
  • sunshine 2010/09/20 00:17:20
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    sunshine
    i am married to a vietnam vet, but so far he is fine, but i have a brother in law who gets a va check foe agent orange
  • Bill Marvin 2010/09/19 22:01:48
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Bill Marvin
    +1
    Only a liberal/Progressive mind would come up with such an anti-military question. I am one of those Veterans and I am drawing disability from the VA. I feel that we deserve it because we were serving our country in vietnam. Regardless of some of the arguments that are set forth by the liberals and anti-military wing of thought, We did our duty as directed and we served honorably!
  • sunshine Bill Ma... 2010/09/20 00:18:55
    sunshine
    amen
  • Jasmine Bill Ma... 2010/09/21 18:08:25
    Jasmine
    You are mistaken in your categorization of liberals and progressives. I am a liberal and very much opposed that hideous war. I do, however, respect those who honorably served and believe they are owed much by our country. They should be taken care of, without a doubt. It is the honorable thing to do.
  • Blix 2010/09/01 08:40:04
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Blix
    Hell Yes!!! and we should pay for the damage done to the Vietnamese people as well.
  • FencerCat 2010/08/31 23:50:21
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    FencerCat
    Ok, I hope no one takes this wrong. I'm not dissing anyone currently in the military. I have the utmost respect for the military. The thing is, Vietnam vets didn't necessarily volunteer to be in the military. Many, if not most, were drafted into the military (army, at least). Many, if not most, were lied to when they went in (my brother volunteered under false pretenses. They made all sorts of career promises to him and he was a naive 18-year-old. Then, to add insult to injury, his draft notice came to our house while he was halfway through his tour of duty in Vietnam) So, unlike the all-volunteer military we currently have, those who were in the military then didn't really have a choice. They were exposed to Agent Orange without their knowledge, without protection of any kind, and afterwards, many weren't really sure whether or not the government was telling the truth when they said they weren't exposed to it. On top of that, the vets weren't thanked for their service by those non-military stateside. They were spit on. They were treated like trash. So, having a brother who, because of things he was exposed to in the Nam, nearly lost his teeth and had horrible health problems, and is only now able to make any references to his experiences (he was there during the Tet offensive...
    Ok, I hope no one takes this wrong. I'm not dissing anyone currently in the military. I have the utmost respect for the military. The thing is, Vietnam vets didn't necessarily volunteer to be in the military. Many, if not most, were drafted into the military (army, at least). Many, if not most, were lied to when they went in (my brother volunteered under false pretenses. They made all sorts of career promises to him and he was a naive 18-year-old. Then, to add insult to injury, his draft notice came to our house while he was halfway through his tour of duty in Vietnam) So, unlike the all-volunteer military we currently have, those who were in the military then didn't really have a choice. They were exposed to Agent Orange without their knowledge, without protection of any kind, and afterwards, many weren't really sure whether or not the government was telling the truth when they said they weren't exposed to it. On top of that, the vets weren't thanked for their service by those non-military stateside. They were spit on. They were treated like trash. So, having a brother who, because of things he was exposed to in the Nam, nearly lost his teeth and had horrible health problems, and is only now able to make any references to his experiences (he was there during the Tet offensive), who had many adjustment problems that no one bothered to do anything about, and then was treated like trash by his classmates when he attended college after the military, I think vets disabled by Agent Orange absolutely, unequivocally should be given all of the medical help their exposure to that requires.
    (more)
  • dana ho... FencerCat 2010/09/01 01:21:14
    dana hopkins
    +3
    Thanks for raising this point. Those who never lived in a country with a draft overlook this important point! My husband, though he was proud of his service, was given a choice of jail for a very very minor infraction or enlisting. I know other guys who went to Nam for similar illegal choices. Would Greg have enlisted otherwise? very likely not. Although I am a pacifist, I also hold those who enlisted out of belief in service to their country in High esteem,
  • FencerCat dana ho... 2010/09/01 23:49:33
    FencerCat
    +1
    I'm also a pacifist. I think often nations rush to war rather than trying to solve situations in other ways. (Of course, if you're attacked, you do need to defend yourself.) If my brother had not signed up on the spur of the moment, and had consulted with my parents first, he likely wouldn't have enlisted, either. I know he still has some bitterness about the way things in his life turned out. He's proud of his service, I think, but he's bitter about other things.
  • dana hopkins 2010/08/31 23:14:32
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    dana hopkins
    +2
    This is political doubletalk on the part of Mr Webb. Our vets ,many of whom did NOT volunteer to go, have been suffering & dying as a rsult of Agent Orange for decades. Because dioxin alters DNA, their children & grandchildren are suffering & dying too.
    These folks went to war & came back irrevocably changed & damaged. If they came back legless or with a head wound we pay for them without question. This is no different. I watched my husband, a productive active member of his community with much to give, suddenly stricken with a horrifying, agonizing cancer [acknowledged by the VA as having been caused by AO decades earlier] that took his life in a year. He was a Green Beret, he served his country & then went on to serve others in his work till his life was cut short. All of our financial resources were used up fighting his disease before the VA finally did the right thing 2 months before his death
  • Keith 2010/08/31 20:22:22
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Keith
    Had we ought pay the professional welfare recipient for morbid obeisity as a result of the inactivity from funding of their previous ass-sittings??

    Methinks not.
  • dana ho... Keith 2010/09/01 00:05:31
    dana hopkins
    +3
    Are You kidding???? How can you compare this? If our wounded warriors ARE unable to work, it is because of the damage done to them as they were serving.

    Methinks you might want to google Agent Orange Legacy & take a look at the real debilitating issues our vets & their progeny are suffering. Lucky for you, at the current rate it is estimated that there will be no living Nam vet by 2015.
    By the way, My deceased husband , a former Green Beret, never sat on his ass a day in his life til he was stricken by the Agent Orange caused horrificly mutated cancer that killed him a year ago.
  • Keith dana ho... 2010/09/01 00:26:11
    Keith
    Methinks you've misunderestimated me meaning - my comment was intended as we ought be more willing to pay for the damages done our troops for things out of their control than to pay for good-for-nothing welfare recipients whose "issues" are, by and large, self-inflicted. Your husband's service is worth honoring, never any disparage was meant.

    Please look at my answer and look at the comment - hope you'll see.

    Good day.
  • dana ho... Keith 2010/09/02 22:05:05
    dana hopkins
    gotcha..I did reread. thank you
  • tooner259 2010/08/31 18:56:05
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    tooner259
    Sure,what about the families of those that died already??
  • Morningstar 2010/08/31 18:49:16
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Morningstar
    considering it was the US government and military that made them disabled. But then they will also have to pay the hundreds of thousands who are affected by their tests on US soil before it was used in war.
  • Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Яᴇv☠Doɴɴγ☠Dooᴍ☠Aɢɴosᴛɪc
    Should this even be a issue?
  • Jasmine Яᴇv☠Doɴ... 2010/09/21 18:11:48
    Jasmine
    No it shouldn't. It should be obvious and unquestionable. How sad the government lied and passed disinformation for so many years.
  • Яᴇv☠Doɴ... Jasmine 2010/09/22 04:36:41
    Яᴇv☠Doɴɴγ☠Dooᴍ☠Aɢɴosᴛɪc
    The effects also go far in to genetics. I know I have genetics issues passed down from my father. My other brothers & sisters by him have them to.
  • Sono Violado 2010/08/31 17:43:12
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Sono Violado
    Sure we should. It should make the taxpayers who elect sponsored politicians do more research before electing another government shill for corporations.
  • ALPEAUX 2010/08/31 17:08:43
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    ALPEAUX
    +1
    Here are some statistics: Agent Orange was initially something called 2-4D. It was sprayed in the bayous of Lousiania for YEARS. Lil pirogues (paddle boats) would go un and down the Bayous (Teche included) and spray the chemical into the water lillies. IT WOULD kill them and open the bayous. IT IS a defollient.

    NOW (LATER) we have a massive oil spill. BP was putting 70,000 gallons of COREXIT 9500 in per day. Propylene glycol (anti-freeze) and is some BAD crap.

    Our chiel "enforcement agencies" have a screw-it mentality. 85 % of the food here is raised in other countries, and the chemicals in them are usually NOT EVEN looked at...Alpeaux
  • FumbDuck 2010/08/31 17:06:49
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    FumbDuck
    People who have been thru hell and come back so that you and me can be free should be taken care of. I would really not like to know that those who go to war just come back and are thought of as a burden on society because of what happened to them while in a combat zone. btw I am a veteran and I just want to add. For those of us who fought for it, FREEDOM has a flavor the protected will never know.
  • Jessica 2010/08/31 16:20:29
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Jessica
    Any costs incurred during the protection of our country should be paid for. Military personel are precious commodities and should be treated as such.
  • LilaGrace ~ Proud Liberal 2010/08/31 15:50:08 (edited)
  • Just MEH....Piwan 2010/08/31 15:33:07
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Just MEH....Piwan
    They put their lives on the line for us.they deserve full compensation.
  • SeánMurphy 2010/08/31 15:19:03
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    SeánMurphy
    Or YEE should pay to be precise! Stop these wars and Fund the Vets!

    The only problem is, the wars in the East are like a big tumor. You can't just RIP IT OUT. There are tender arteries to tend to, that if handled to ruggedly, may burst.
    Or the economy may burst or something.
    Wars are bad, stupid and illogical. And the three neccesities to wage war are money, money and more money. Don't forget - You gotta spend money to make money!

    Unless the US is just dotting undergound bases everywhere, spooky, but could be true....
  • SeánMurphy SeánMurphy 2010/08/31 15:22:38
    SeánMurphy
    I just watched the video. If only warmongers realised that hell is just after their last breath.
  • Magic Twanger 2010/08/31 15:13:03
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Magic Twanger
    +1
    Anyone who would even suggest limiting or cut off benefits to any veterans groups for Agent Orange should be taken out and shot. There are many side effects of exposure to Agent Orange, T-2 Diabetes, Prostate Cancer, nervous disorders, all caused by exposure to Agent Orange while serving our country. They sprayed this Agent Orange on us and around us, the water supplies we walked through was contaminated with Agent Orange, it was everywhere.

    Only a liberal government w/o any military service would come up with this ploy, we pay millions for a bottle of urine with a cross upside down in the bottle and call it art, to try and save a few bucks by cutting off benefits and medical care is inhumane and arrogant beyond belief..
  • LilaGra... Magic T... 2010/08/31 15:55:32
    LilaGrace ~ Proud Liberal
    +1
    Ease up, there soldier. Do you have any idea how many Republican lawmakers have voted AGAINST VA funding? Even John McCain has voted against VA spending in the past. My dad was a veteran. And a Democrat. I'm a Democrat. I would NEVER suggest cutting spending for our troops or our vets. This isn't a Dem or Rep issue. There are just some politicians who don't give a damn, and they come from ALL political parties.
  • Magic T... LilaGra... 2010/08/31 16:39:11
    Magic Twanger
    Point taken. However John McCain is a true war hero, I wouldn't say he was a Republican, more a RINO, he is a bad example, however despite that... Point Taken.
  • wise up 2010/08/31 15:09:55
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    wise up
    hell yes
  • Helo Chick 2010/08/31 15:05:02
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Helo Chick
    +1
    It took my father-in-law over 30 years to get his benefits from Vietnam, he also didn't get any compensation during the 30 years he was trying to get his benefits. He Now he's falling apart medically and everything is being tied to Vietnam. So YES! They should get compensated, all the way to the end.
  • Scarr~Green with Envy 2010/08/31 15:01:21
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Scarr~Green with Envy
    instead of all the crap the gov't is doing now.
  • Joseph E. Bowker, CMSgt, US... 2010/08/31 14:54:09 (edited)
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Joseph E. Bowker, CMSgt, USAF (Ret)
    +3
    What can I say. I am a two time Victim of Agent Orange Bien Hoa 66~67 where the 55 Gallon Drums were off loaded as a central Pick up point for in Country. I recently read that the Dioxin Poisoning to the base (now Vietnamese city) is 400 times worse than at Love Canal in New York where we moved the people away from the poisoned earth. Then Phan Rang (70~71) where one of my duties as a Psychological Warfare Observer was to fly Right-Seat in an open OscarDeuceBravo (O2B) Psychological Warfare Aircraft delivering information before and after the Sprayer C-123's flew their missions. We often came back full of droplets of Agent Orange (AO) on our faces and arms, and our uniforms soaked. Now, I've lost my Pancreas, Gaul Bladder, I've had serious digestive track problems, Diabetes, Heart Attack, a Retinal (Sugar Induced) Stroke with the loss of my left eye and hearing. The Republican VA refused to consider what the Australians knew early on, Agent Orange is dangerous for all living things, and they began to cover their Vietnam Veterans with related problems., It took our people for ever to agree because the Conservatives didn't want to have to pay an extra $1.00 to take care of the people we put in harms way, now suffering and reduced life because of it. Thanks to Secretary (Gen) Senseki, President Obama's VA Secretary for his continued service to American GIs. Thank you sir.
  • Dwight 2010/08/31 14:49:40
    Yes. We should pay any cost for our veterans.
    Dwight
    +2
    I've seen people die because of exposure to agent orange. Pay them!
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