Agent Orange Comes Home

Several Agent Orange activist groups, many of which were involved in the Second International Conference of Agent Orange/Dioxin recently held here in Hanoi, are calling for protests at Monsanto’s annual shareholder’s meeting 24 January in St. Louis, Missouri.

Len Aldis  (lenaoag@gmail.org) is spearheading part of the organization process and information dissemination from the United Kingdom. Aldis is chairman of the Agent Orange Action Group as well as secretary of the Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society in London.

“We want justice for (Agent Orange) victims and their families,” Aldis told the LA Progressive, “too much time has passed…too many people continue to suffer and die while companies that caused this (Monsanto) do nothing…”

agent orangeAldis’ sentiment is shared by John Percy of Agent Orange Justice: Australia-Vietnam Solidarity Network as well as many Australian veterans who served in Vietnam. Earlier this month Green Party Senator Lee Rhiannon of New South Wales delivered a speech in Parliament on behalf of Australian and Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange. Senator Rhiannon was critical of the inaction of Monsanto regarding the human suffering that still exists and their unwillingness to address this issue.

In a parallel universe, according to Hugh Grant, Monsanto CEO, and Rev. David Schilling, Monsanto’s director of human rights: “…Monsanto holds itself accountable and socially responsible (for all corporate actions)…” Monsanto’s website showcases numerous human rights awards and agreement with various U.N. policies. However, that AO word is impossible to find.

Perhaps the United States Supreme Court recently said it best when they indicated, words to the effect, “Today if Agent Orange were utilized like it was during the ’60s, it would be a crime; however, those laws did not exist then; therefore, no law was broken…” And, of course, no special interest big multi-national corporation is responsible.

What I find so tragic about this is the numbers of people who buy into it. Americans like me who served in combat are ridiculed for “siding with the enemy,” being “unpatriotic” or “unchristian” or any other lie that can be manufactured to avoid looking at the truth. Sadly — and there are many expats like me — we find life outside the United States to be more pleasant and beneficial. It would be impossible for me to adequately describe to you the happiness and joy we feel working with Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange. If Monsanto would spend just one day with me, we are certain their outlook would be altered.

James Rhodes

Photos: Agent Orange Association Group

Published by the LA Progressive on November 14, 2011
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