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Operation Ranch Hand Vietnam 1963
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I've been reading official reports, diaries, memoirs about the spraying of Agent Orange and related herbicides over South Vietnam during the 60's, as a part of my research into my husband's claim of Parkinson's Disease as a result of exposure to Agent Orange.

It makes for horrible reading. Not the reading so much as the photographs, showing devastated crops and trees, not only a few months later, but years later.

Worst of all are the pictures of horribly disfigured people born with grotesque physical deformities as a result of their mothers' exposure during gestation.

At the time, the reports were classified and the military and civilian participants in the spraying sworn to secrecy, as were the intelligence officers and enlisted personnel. Americans heard reports which were dismissed as being exaggerated or even just propaganda.

Looking at it now, going on 50 years later, it seems impossible that we would have taken such actions, knowing the devastation to follow on civilians and noncombatants. I remember that the official line was that there were no civilians, all the population was suspect, and anyway, the chemicals were perfectly safe.

Yup. Propaganda, all right. Historical records show that the manufacturer and the government at the highest levels knew how toxic Agent Orange and its cousins really were.

Sometimes I think we humans are truly damned.

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