18 October 2010

"Effects Yet To Be Reckoned"

I once read that the United States military troops sprayed at least 20 million gallons of Agent Orange, or toxic herbicides, in Vietnam during the war. I looked it up, and according to the U.S. Department of Veterans affairs, this deadly chemical causes a variety of cancers, heart diseases, Hodgkin’s disease, Leukemia, diabetes, neuropathy and liver dysfunction. The chemical also causes birth defects, such as Spina Bifida, in the children of veterans. The physical mutations of Agent Orange in people in Vietnam were prevalent, to say the least.

I wrote one sentence in my journal the day we visited the War Remnants Museum:

Why does history keep repeating?

In Steve Hawley’s feature “What We Leave Behind” in the Winter 2004 Issue of the Bear Deluxe Magazine, he predicts, “Amid former battlefields [in Iraq], contaminated with depleted uranium, or DU, the true costs of war have yet to be reckoned.”

Hawley’s article reveals the overwhelming amount of toxic DU in Iraq from U.S. bullets. The numbers are staggering- some 260 to 270 millirads of radiation are emitted with a single charred bullet. Hawley points out that the limit of exposure for non-radiation workers is 100 millirads per year.

He also points out research suggesting that damage done by DU often manifests itself in the next generation. Just like Agent Orange, DU is a genotoxin that alters DNA, often in the children of people who have been exposed to it.

I’ll write it one more time:

Why does history keep repeating?

No comments:

Post a Comment