Vietnam War in the News is an edited review of Vietnam War related news and articles.

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'No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now.'
- Richard M. Nixon

Agent Orange: Chemical Warfare

New VA program for Vietnam war veterans exposed to Agent Orange
During the Vietnam War the American military used 20,000,000 gallons of Agent Orange and other chemicals in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, as part of Operation Ranch Hand. Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange suffer from increased rates of cancer and other disorders. On December 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began processing Agent Orange claims under a new quicker program.

Department of Veterans Affairs expands list of Agent Orange ailments, but still needs Congress approval
35 years after the end of the Vietnam War, many veterans are still fighting for compensation for diseases related to Agent Orange. The Department of Veterans Affairs announced new guidelines that would cover exposed veterans for some extra diseases. The VA estimates the cost for treating these extra diseases at $40 billion over the next decade. The VA rules need congressional approval, but some members of Congress have opposed the increasing costs of Agent Orange related claims. Congress has until the end of October 2010 to decide whether the new rules will stand and veterans will have their treatment covered by the VA.

Report by Institute of Medicine links Agent Orange with more illnesses
A report by the Institute of Medicine suggests more diseases may be linked to exposure to Agent Orange, a defoliant used by American forces to clear jungles during the Vietnam War. The people exposed to the chemical are more likely to have ischemic heart disease and Parkinson's disease. The results are an important step for veterans groups, who intend to write a letter to the secretary of Veterans Affairs, calling for extended benefits. The findings add to a growing list of conditions linked to the defoliants. The IOM committee has linked 17 conditions to exposure of the Agent Orange since 1994, of those 13 qualify veterans for service-connected disability benefits.

United States gives $1 million for disabled in Agent Orange hotspot   (Article no longer available from the original source)
The U.S. and Vietnam set up 3 new programs to help people in Danang, where American troops stored and mixed Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. The U.S. sprayed 75 million liters of extremely toxic Agent Orange and other herbicides across Vietnam during the war to strip Vietnamese guerrillas of ground cover and kill their crops. Dioxin, a highly toxic element of Agent Orange, remains in soil and sediment for years and poses a severe health threat to anyone who touches it. Vietnam thinks as many as 4 million people have suffered serious health problems linked with Agent Orange.

Agent Orange officially key to Vietnam veteran's death in New Zealand
Exposure to Agent Orange, a herbicide used by the U.S. during the Vietnam War to clear jungle, helped kill a man his death certificate states. It's the first time in New Zealand history a death has been officially credited to the chemical, which released cancer-causing dioxins. The dead man, Pat Hauwai, was exposed to the chemical while serving in Vietnam as a private in Victor One Company in 1967. Fellow Victor One soldier Red Beatson recounted that if it rained, the soldiers would turn their tents upside down and use the undersurface as water catchments to fill their canteens. In doing so, they would drink traces of the chemical.

Agent Orange victims share tales of chemical's poisonous legacy
Vietnam is known for jungles, but during Dan Wilson's last 8 months there, nothing was green at all. "There was no grass. There were several thousand acres of dust when it didn't rain and mud when it did." American soldiers didn't know that they were living and eating in a toxic wasteland. The area had been sprayed with Agent Orange, a weed killer employed by U.S. forces to destroy the jungle that gave cover for enemies. Now Wilson suffers from illnesses and peripheral neuropathy, a painful condition that affects the nerve-endings. "It starts with pain, then it's a burning, then you lose all sensation."

Vietnamese, Americans Appeal Rulings on Use of Agent Orange
Lawsuits against the chemical companies that manufactured Agent Orange: A federal appeals court will soon hear oral arguments brought by Vietnam and American Vietnam War veterans who say their health has suffered from exposure to the Agent Orange. This is the latest round of Agent Orange litigation in battles that have spanned 3 decades. In 1984, several producers of the defoliant agreed to pay $180 million. But that money has been paid out, and veterans who were not part of that suit say their symptoms only became apparent in recent years.

Vietnam Vets launch $5 billion lawsuit over Agent Orange poisoning   (Article no longer available from the original source)
PM Helen Clark and every other living prime minister, governor general, minister of health and minister of defence since New Zealand entered the Vietnam war will be targeted in the $5 billion lawsuit planned by vets. The Vietnam Veteran's Action Group has launched the sensational bid to sue the govt and key political figures because they blame them for lack of action over their poisoning by Agent Orange. The lawsuit will allege officials since 1962 were guilty of "malfeasance" and failed to provide duty of care to veterans. Malfeasance is a term used when public officials break the law and bring harm to others while in office.

Researchers 'shocked' at Agent Orange contamination in Vietnam
The dangerous herbicide Agent Orange is still contaminating soil in Vietnam at an alarming rate, a Canadian firm has found. Hatfield Consultants studied the contamination levels in the area of Da Nang in central Vietnam, and found contamination to be 300-400 times higher than what is acceptable. "We were very shocked. The levels were significantly higher than we had anticipated. If this was in Canada or the US, the area would be cordoned off." U.S. forces sprayed the defoliant in Vietnam 1961-1971. The herbicide has been discovered to contain the carcinogen dioxin that has been linked to cancer and birth defects.

Film documents Vietnam War's appalling legacy   (Article no longer available from the original source)
12yo Thuy Linh was born without arms in south Vietnam, but she's managed to overcome part of the struggle by writing with her feet. For most people, the Vietnam War ended 30 years ago. But for the thousands of Vietnamese like Linh who were exposed in some way to Agent Orange chemicals sprayed over 30% of Vietnam, the nightmares still exist. The stories of Linh and others who were affected by a harmful byproduct from Agent Orange, dioxin, are told in a documentary called "The Last Ghost of War."

The $30 million compensation the agent orange
The $30 million compensation deal for Vietnam vets sprayed with the defoliant agent orange has been warmly received. But while some are in line for payouts of up to $40,000 some will get nothing. One family say 3 generations have been affected but they may not get a cent. Infantryman John Jennings served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He says his unit was sprayed with a chemical used to rob the enemy of cover and was told not to worry about it. "On the 9th of Sept 1967 our unit was briefed we were going to be crop dusted, and we were." The chemical was agent orange and it robbed him of sight in one eye and caused severe skin rashes.

Government Must Pay for Offshore Agent Orange Exposure
Soldiers who patrolled the waters off Vietnam can claim disability benefits for exposure to Agent Orange under an appeals court ruling that opens the door for thousands of servicemen to seek coverage. The ruling was handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in the case of a former sailor who served on an ammunition ship during the Vietnam War but never stepped foot on land. The panel said it made no sense for soldiers who patrolled Vietnam's inland waterways and those simply passing through the country to receive coverage while those serving at sea do not.

Study reinforces Vietnam War Agent Orange worries
A new study reinforces concerns about the defoliant Agent Orange for New Zealand vets of the Vietnam War. The Massey University report claims there is strong evidence they have suffered genetic damage as a result of exposure to harmful substances in the war zone. Agent Orange - which includes the deadly, carcinogenic chemical Dioxin, was sprayed to remove leaves from trees that enemy troops hid behind.

Order of the Silver Rose -- Medal for Agent Orange exposures
U.S. Army veteran Robert Wolfenkoehler was injured in the Vietnam War, but he received no Purple Heart. His injury took years to develop after he was exposed to Agent Orange. Wolfenkoehler was one of 12 Vietnam vets who received the Order of the Silver Rose medal, which honors victims of Agent Orange. More than 20 million gallons of Agent Orange were used by American forces. It eliminated cover for the enemy and allowed for easier movement through the jungles. No official medal has been established for veterans who have lost their life due to Agent Orange. The Order of the Silver Rose, a private organization, seeks to change that.