The Effects of Agent Orange on Veterans of the Vietnam War Essay

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Almost thirty years after the last troops were pulled out of what was then South Vietnam, its effects are still felt in today’s society. It is hard not to find someone who’s life has not been affected because of this war. One of the most controversial decisions made in the war was to use chemicals to fight the enemy. The most boradly used chemiucal was called Agent Orange. Some people agreed with the use of Agent Orange. They saw it as a very viable weapon that needed to be used in order to keep the Communist from taking control of South Vietnam and subverting their democratic government. Many others disapproved of its use. They knew, correctly, that it would severely devastate the landscape of Vietnam and would forever ruin the land for agricultural use. They also knew of the harmful effect it would have once adults and children came in contact with the harmful chemicals that form the chemical make up of Agent Orange. Once the first bombs carrying Agent Orange were dropped there was no going back. For some people the use of Agent Orange changed their whole opinion of the war and what we were really fighting for. Pictures showing burns and disfigurement were soon to hit the presses. Once the American public could see exactly what was happening and how the civilian life was being treated impacted many people so much that they could no longer support what the United States was doing over in Vietnam. The goal of this paper is to show how the use of Agent Orange changed many people’s perspective of the war in Vietnam.

Why has the use of Agent Orange become so controversial? The Americans dropped the atomic bomb to end World War II and did not have the backlash that it had, and still has, with Agent Orange. The ver...

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...Ballatine Books, 1995.

Schuck, Peter H. Agent Orange on Trial: Mass Toxic Disasters in the Courts. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1986.

Shesol, Jeff. Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, and the Feud That Defined a Decade. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997.

Spake, Amanda. “The Healing Process is Far From Done.” U.S. News and World Report 128 no. 17. 2000: 39

Uhl, Michael and Tod Ensign. GI Guinea Pigs: How the Pentagon Exposed Our Troops to Dangers More Deadly Than War: Agent Orange and Atomic Radiation. Playboy Press, 1980.
Warwick, Hugh. “Agent Orange: The Poisoning of Vietnam.” The Ecologist v28 no. 5. 1998: 264-265.

Wilcox, Fred A. Waiting For an Army To Die. Washington, D.C.: Seven Locks Press, 1989.
Young, Marilyn B. The Vietnam Wars: 1945-1990. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991.

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