Remembering the Children of Agent Orange: A Personal Investigation

By: Mickey Butts: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Agent Orange took my father, and quite likely took my sisters. My story is frighteningly common. Part 1 of a series.

Wars never end. Their toxic aftermath lingers, for generations.

Wars lay waste to the land, to the air, to the water. Hotspots in Southeast Asia are still heavily contaminated 50 years after the US government blanketed jungles, rice paddies, rivers, and villages with 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides, contaminating the region with dioxin, one of the most toxic substances on the planet.

Wars also lay waste to those who perish, as well as to the survivors of the battlefield. Many soldiers in Vietnam, for example, returned with mysterious ailments that tormented them for decades, and earned them hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation from the US government and the chemical companies that manufactured Agent Orange — if their conditions didn’t kill them.

The story of Vietnam veterans and Agent Orange is well known. Much less well publicized, however, is the intergenerational genetic damage that America’s wars have wreaked on the American children of those who served.

Agent Orange sprayed half a century ago in Southeast Asia has short-circuited the health of hundreds of thousands of US children of Vietnam veterans, estimates Heather Bowser, a cofounder of Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance. Bowser was born premature with a missing leg and fingers to a father who died at age 50 of a heart attack after returning from Vietnam. Many of the 5,000 members of the private Facebook group Bowser cofounded have reported mysterious birth defects, autoimmune diseases, cancers, fertility issues, and chronic ailments that were not in their family history before a parent served in Vietnam.

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