To the EditorSince our elected U.S. Legislators, Congress and Senate do not to seem to care about our Vietnam War Veterans who are sick from the herbicide Agent Orange Dioxin, I can say I am not proud of our government in the manner in which our Vetera…
|After the war, Vietnam veteran Steve Dudich joined the Salvation Army as a lieutenant where he served impoverished neighborhoods in the Bay Area.|
“Were you in Vietnam?”
That’s a haunting question Steve Dudich, of Arroyo Grande, has heard more times than he cares to remember.
Doctors asked when they detected his daughter had a rare cancer of the forehead, when his wife miscarried a child and when he developed ischemic heart disease, forcing his heart to beat 250 beats per minute, more than twice as fast as it should be beating.
A Serbian whose family fled to America, Dudich joined the Marines at 16 years old (his father, he said, forged his mother’s signature on the recruitment paperwork). As soon as he caught wind that the Russians were transporting missiles to Cuba, he vowed he would do whatever he could to fight communism.
He never imagined it would lead him into battle against his own government.
“I’ve been an Agent Orange warrior ever since I was first in (the) country. I was burned bad by that stuff,” Dudich said. “Agent Orange has destroyed my life. It has harmed my children, it has harmed my first wife … what they have done to us and put us through when we came home, there’s no excuse for what this government did.”
U.S. forces sprayed more than 19 million gallons of the herbicide throughout Vietnam between 1961 and 1972, using the powerful acid to cut down dense foliage enemies used for cover.
Dudich sprinted through a barrage of bamboo doused in Agent Orange. The splinters penetrated his skin, injecting the herbicide into his body hundreds of times. The pain became overwhelming. He stripped down to his skivvies.
“People thought I’d gone crazy. I looked like I’d been dipped in a vat of acid,” Dudich said. “That’s where I think I got my worst contamination.”
The effects are lasting.
He developed outbreaks of rashes and blisters throughout his body, repulsing his young daughters.
“They were scared of me,” Dudich said. “My eyes would have blisters, my face would have blisters. I’d stay in my room and not come out.”
His daughters harbor resentment, Dudich said. Although not physically visible, they sustain secondary exposure to Agent Orange.
One of his daughters said she considers herself “tweaked.”
Dudich has spent his life advocating for veterans rights.
Before his exposure to the herbicide, Dudich was a brash soldier. He carried a Ruger Blackhawk 357 revolver and quick drew it like a cowboy. He would wear a white T-shirt instead of Army camouflage and a soft cover instead of hard helmet.
The bright target would flush out snipers, and as soon as Dudich found out where they were firing from, he’d call in an airstrike.
“I had every attitude at my young age that I could have. I’m ghetto born and bred, man.”
Years after the war, Dudich’s commanding officers offered to promote him to captain with retroactive pay, and award him the Navy Cross. He turned them down.
“What’s that do for me?” Dudich asked.
Eventually, Dudich would be commissioned as an officer, however. He joined the Salvation Army as a lieutenant where he served impoverished neighborhoods in the Bay Area.
“Never have I regretted going into the service,” Dudich said. “I learned so much through the war. Going forward, I can see the things other people just can’t see.”
Perhaps no group of science deniers has been more ridiculed than those who deny the science of evolution. What you may not know is that Monsanto and our United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are among them. That’s right: for decades, Monsanto …
The number of Vietnam veterans affected by the chemical Agent Orange is astonishing.
Roughly 300-thousand veterans have died from Agent Orange exposure — that’s almost five times as many as the 58-thousand who died in combat.
“Did it save lives? No doubt. Over there it did, but nobody knew it was going to be taking them later,” said Dan Stenvold, President of the North Dakota branch of the VVA.
The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) define Agent Orange as a highly toxic herbicide used by the U.S. military to kill vegetation during the Vietnam War.
“You know we killed the jungle with back packs, sprayed so we had a good perimeter,” said Stenvold.
According to Stenvold, one tablespoon of Agent Orange in the drinking water of Los Angeles would kill the entire city.
That toxicity is coming back to haunt veterans and it’s also affecting their children…
“Well my dad was a Vietnam veteran, my brother has brain cancer believed to be caused by Agent Orange passed through my father,” said Ashely Busby, daughter of a Vietnam Vet.
…And their children’s children.
“Our daughters that can’t have children, there’s a lot of them. I was telling Ashley I know of at least 70 in North Dakota alone where the daughters can’t have kids,” said Stenvold.
11 million gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed in Vietnam over 20 million acres, putting three million Vietnam veterans and their families at risk.
“It’s an everyday question kind of, you know, what’s passed on, what’s not passed on,” said Busby.
Stenvold did three tours in Vietnam and in 2002 he was diagnosed with diabetes linked to Agent Orange.
Since then he says he’s made a vow to raise awareness.
Two years ago, the VVA received 50 thousand dollars from the state to do just that.
“It’s amazing how many Vietnam veterans don’t know about it and you know it’s really opened the eyes, I gotta thank the North Dakota legislature because two years ago they had enough faith in us to go out and do what we’re doing and it’s working,” said Stenvold.
There are about 50 diseases connected agent orange exposure and nearly 20 birth defects recognized in the children of Vietnam veterans.
“I had a close friend who died a five years ago from lymphoma and he’s laying in Minot, he’s from Minot, dying and he says, “you know we all took a bullet over there, some of us just didn’t know it. We’re all going to die from it, eventually, or a lot of us will,” said Stenvold.
Mcneilus steel in Fargo made history as the first corporation in North Dakota to donate money to the VVA.
The employees and the company gave a total of $1,500 dollars to this cause.
Clifford Anderson’s serious health problems began when he was in his 30s.
It began with a diagnosis of colitis, an inflammation of the inner lining of his colon, in the early 1980s. By 1990, his colon had to be removed.
“When they took the colon out, the doctor at the university said they’ve never seen a colon like that before,” Anderson said. “It was like battleship gray.”
His health continued to deteriorate over the years as he developed poor circulation, bleeding ulcers on his ankles, blood clots, eye disease and now a rare cancer that leaves small tumors on the inside of his intestines.
Anderson, 67, of Joy, Ill., is convinced that his health problems stem from his exposure to Agent Orange, a highly toxic chemical sprayed on trees and vegetation during the Vietnam War. Anderson served with the 101st Airborne Division from February 1966 to September 1967.
“I felt sorry for myself for a long time,” Anderson said Saturday. “But I tell you the worst thing is, and I’ll just put it very bluntly, the hell I put my family through.”
Now, he worries about the effects of the drug being passed down genetically to his son and eventually his granddaughter.
In fact, the effects of Agent Orange and other toxic chemicals that soldiers may come in contact with during war may be felt in the next five to seven generations, said Maynard Kaderlik of the Minnesota State Council, Vietnam Veterans of America.
“We beat up ourselves a lot over the years,” Kaderlik told a packed room of veterans and their families at the Rogalski Center at St. Ambrose University in Davenport on Saturday. “Don’t blame yourself for this issue, OK? We didn’t know that the stuff was going to do this to us.”
The town hall forum lasted much of Saturday and is the first of its kind in Iowa, said Gary Paulline, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 776, Bettendorf.
The Department of Veterans Affairs currently recognizes about 50 illnesses, such as Parkinson ’s disease and multiple forms of cancer, connected to exposure to Agent Orange.
The VA also recognizes some birth defects, such as spina bifida and hip dysplasia, of children born to female Vietnam War veterans.
“We believe genetically we passed it on to our children and now the dioxin is in our tissue, so we don’t know when the bomb’s going to go off,” Kaderlik said.
Since the Vietnam Veterans of America began doing the town hall meeting several years ago, they have identified about 750 diseases that may be linked to Agent Orange and other toxins, Kaderlik said.
It’s not just Vietnam War veterans who were exposed to toxic agents.
In the Gulf War, service men and women were exposed to such things as depleted uranium used extensively in American armor-piercing ammunition and to enhance armor protection for some tanks. In the case of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, they were exposed to the smoke and fumes of burn pits used to burn everything from basic trash to chemical waste and human feces.
During the Agent Orange town hall meetings, the Vietnam Veterans of America also has collected stories from Vietnam War veterans and their families and plan to share them Congress in a push for legislation that calls for more research for toxic exposure research and support for military families.
They are doing it, in large part, for the future generations who may be affected by Agent Orange and other toxic chemicals, Kaderlik said.
“We have to fight the fight, we have to keep at it,” he said.
Kaderlik encouraged veterans to file claims with the Veterans Administration for themselves and family members and register with the VA’s Agent Orange registry, which provides a comprehensive health exam that alerts veterans to possible long-term effects related to Agent Orange.
Anderson said his son, born in Belgium in 1970, has had issues with his teeth, heart and hips for much of his life. He worries about his granddaughter, who has not shown any symptoms.
“We’re talking about the children here, but I’m still a firm believer that if we don’t get this on the registry and get proof of this, we’re all in trouble,” Anderson said.
Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
‘They can’t cure it’Eleven years ago, at a routine physical, Terry Singer’s doctor ordered him to see an oncologist. The elevated protein he found in his blood pointed to multiple myeloma, a rare and deadly cancer of the plasma cells and one of the pre…
Do you ever wonder why “pro gmo” people simply refuse to acknowledge the science? The truth is, we don’t know enough about GMOs to deem them safe for human consumption. Believe it or not the very first commercial sale of them was only twenty years ago. There is no possible way that our health authorities can test all possible combinations on a large enough population, over a long enough period of time to be able to say with absolute certainty that they are harmless.
“GM Crop Production is Lowering US Yields and Increasing Pesticide Use…There is no reason GM foods should be approved safe for consumption, we just don’t know enough about them. We could easily feed the planet through organic, GMO-free methods, so there is absolutely no reason we need GM foods around… the current approval of glyphosate and Roundup is deeply flawed and unreliable…Because humans that’ve been exposed to glyphosate have a drop in amino acid tryptophan levels, they do not have the necessary active signalling of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with weight gain, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.“
GMOs Prove Harmful To Humans In These Ten Scientific Studies :
15 GMO Safety Studies LINKS HERE
The Vietnam War was the Monsanto Company’s first herbicidal operation. Monsanto and Dow Chemical were the two companies that manufactured Agent Orange, the deadly dioxin based herbicide. The March Against Monsanto (MAM) is scheduled to host global protests at more than 100 sites on May 24. MAM is very vocal about moving beyond a genetically modified organism (GMO ) labeling centered discourse when it comes to exposing Monsanto’s negative impact on the world.
The protest network sponsors projects like Agent Orange Awareness (AOA). Founder of the AOA Kelly L. Derricks comments, “If we fail to realize that March Against Monsanto is not about GMOs alone, then we have already lost the battle.”
Organizers want to inform the public that Monsanto’s devastation stretches across the board. The media often simplifies protesters’ demands against Monsanto’s domination of food resources by not covering Monsanto’s history as a major manufacturer of Agent Orange.
Even though Monsanto was not the only Agent Orange producer, MAM confirms that Monsanto manufactured the chemical at 1,000 times its original potency making them the most deadly contributor to the herbicidal weapons used in the Vietnam War. Agent Orange was used in Operation Ranch Hand which began Monsanto’s role in destroying the global environment and harming the health of millions.
The Organic Consumers Association gives the history of how the toxic chemical was used in the Vietnam War. Approximately 72 million liters of herbicides, a majority Agent Orange, were sprayed by the United States military from 1962 to 1970. More than a million Vietnamese citizens and over 100,000 allied troops came into contact with the toxin. Since then, Monsanto has falsified several studies about the toxic effects of Agent Orange.
Studies that show Agent Orange’s toxic effects exist, but this research has done little to implicate Monsanto’s role in poisoning humans. Studies in the 1970s found that Agent Orange exposure caused, “a very significant, multi-system illness affecting all parts of the nervous system, and causing fatigue and muscle aches.” Groups like AOA and MAM are working to draw attention to the countless studies and life experiences that prove the damaging effects of Agent Orange.
Monsanto was neither the first nor the only company to create Agent Orange used in the herbicidal operation in the Vietnam War. Dow Chemical also made large quantities of dioxin, the main ingredient in Agent Orange. Agent Orange victims have spoken out about the dangers of allowing Monsanto and Dow Chemical to continue patenting agricultural products.
Dow AgroSciences will follow Monsanto and release their own version of herbicide resistant GMO corn and soybean seeds in 2015. The Dow herbicide called, Enlist Duo, contains traces of Agent Orange’s dioxin in a mixture of 2,4-D and glyphosate. Many demand that the EPA should prevent Enlist products from being sold in the market because of decades of scientific research that link dioxin toxicity to severe health issues.
Concerns about Monsanto’s role in facilitating the deregulation of the agricultural industry stem from Monsanto’s influence in the federal government. The Food and Drug Administration as well as the Environmental Protection Agency have employed former Monsanto attorneys in their organizations.
On May 24, the world will witness thousands of people protesting the use of toxic chemicals in agriculture. Monsanto’s Agent Orange operation in the Vietnam War was the first insight into the biotech corporation’s future in herbicidal warfare. The protests will expose this connection. Media coverage of last year’s protests was very slim. However, this year is promising to gain greater attention as long as more people become concerned about where their food comes from.
(Dom’s Multiple Myeloma was caused by his exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam)
James Rhodes, 65, grew up in Alabama and went on to play trombone in the Troy University band. He was drafted into the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War in 1969. He went on search and rescue missions, and somewhere during his time in country, was exposed to Agent Orange, the pesticide deployed by the U.S. government, which has in subsequent years been shown by various studies to have caused lingering health problems for service members and civilians. He was honorably discharged from medical complications he traces to his exposure to the toxic chemical.
Agent Orange, manufactured by Monsanto and Dow, was used by American – authorized by President John F. Kennedy as Operation Ranch Hand in 1961 — and South Vietnamese forces to destroy crops and defoliate the trees and bushes of the North Vietnamese enemy.
Rhodes, who now divides his time between Alabaster and Vietnam, has written a book about his experience in the war and in dealing with the after-effects of Agent Orange. The book, Diary of a Former Enemy, is published only in Vietnamese, and proceeds from its sale go to Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange.
Rhodes shared a little history with Weld for this interview.
Weld: What is the book about?
James Rhodes: My war and Agent Orange experience, written as therapy. … My Veteran’s Administration therapist, years ago, suggested I do this, but I don’t think they ever thought it would actually go to print and be a bestseller. Who knew?
Weld: So, what happened to you in the war? What was the effect of Agent Orange on you?
JR: Have had 14 “growths” cut out of me — none by the US government. … [I became a] participant in the Agent Orange legal action where veterans got shafted by lawyers. … I was at the high end of the scale; I got $6,000 — that is, $1,000 [per] year for six years — while the lawyers got millions.
Weld: How did you come to be in Vietnam?
JR: I went to Vietnam because my name was not George Bush and I could not hide out in the Alabama National Guard; my name was not Bill Clinton and I could not protest; … my name was not Dick Cheney and I could not claim to be 4-F; and I was not skilled enough to flee to Canada and be pardoned by President Carter!
The USAF [recruiter] promised me I would be in the band. Ended up as a crew chief on a search and rescue team.
Weld: What is your relationship with the country of Vietnam today?
JR: I love Vietnam. The people have been great to us. They actually saved my life, as I could not get treatment for any of my Agent Orange conditions in this country. The Vietnamese had pity and compassion for me. They treated me as a long-lost relative. They are better Christians than any preacher you will meet in this country. Being around poor farmers whose only goal in life is to make Buddha, Jesus, or Baha’u’llah proud puts life in its correct focus, I think. We [he and wife Nina Avina-Rhodes] spend a great deal of time in the Hanoi area.
We attempt to spend three-to-six months a year there. When I am there I teach at the university where the U.S. State Department sent me in 2011 — the National Academy of Journalism and Communication in Hanoi. I spent all of 2009 in Hanoi.
Weld: What is your background?
JR: I was a Fulbright educator at Hoc Vien Bao Chi Va Tuyen Truyen (the National Academy of Journalism and Communication). The students are great; the staff and administration are great; public transportation is cheap and they have socialized medicine because, unlike here, people don’t object to paying taxes as long as it benefits others.
Working with the Vietnamese has been great therapy for me and a tremendous religious experience. I have gotten to know, as serious personal friends, people at Vietnam Television International; Voice of Vietnam; Vietnam News Agency; Bao Dien Tu (the government’s online daily); and Quan Doi Nhan Dan (the Army online daily). I have worked for the Vietnamese government at Vietnam Television International, Bao Dien Tu and Quan Doi Nhan Dan.
Weld: Tell us a little about your family.
JR: Dad “Dusty” Rhodes (Navy WWII vet) of Matthews, Alabama; MVP 1954 World Series. Brother David Ronald Rhodes (Wetumpka), 22 years USAF and Army, misdiagnosed after his military [service], which resulted in his untimely death years ago.
Weld: Can you please elaborate?
JR: He had five cancers that went undetected until they killed him. How in hell does this happen?
Weld: Where is the book being released?
JR: Released last month, only in Vietnam, with all my proceeds going to Vietnamese victims of herbicidal poisons — they’re fourth-generation now.
Do note that New Jersey veteran George Mizo was wounded in combat, sent to Japan for mending and returned to combat. He was then wounded a second time and sent to Japan to mend and also returned to combat. After the third time, he refused to go back to Vietnam and was given a less than honorable discharge — something Bush, Clinton and Cheney did not have to worry about.
He founded, with his German wife, an American 501(c)3 organization to assist the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange after the war ended. That facility still exists today in Hanoi. It is the Friendship Village. Shortly after its completion, Mizo died of an Agent Orange-related illness. He is my hero, as are all the people who look after these unfortunates.
Some funds [from the book] go to the Friendship Village. Some go to other facilities, of which there are many, as there are many victims countrywide.
With genetically engineered corn and soy, Dow Chemical aims to bring back toxic herbicide use, big time
While my sister-in-law put the finishing touches on Thanksgiving dinner, I listened to her friend recount the losing battle her husband, a Vietnam veteran, fought with lung cancer. She explained her husband’s illness was caused by his wartime exposure to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange, produced primarily by two companies, Dow Chemical and Monsanto. Named for the colored band on its transport tanks, Agent Orange was a cocktail of chemicals, including an herbicide called 2,4-D. Shortly after the spraying — conducted to deprive guerrilla fighters of cover and a food supply — started in 1962, reports began to emerge of serious health effects, from birth defects to other illnesses. To this day, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers an Agent Orange registry health exam for the possible long-term problems caused by exposure, and more than 40,000 veterans have submitted disability claims. The Red Cross estimates that 1 million Vietnamese were affected, including third-generation children born with severe birth defects.
In January the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened a public comment period on the environmental and health impacts of a new suite of crops engineered to be resistant to 2,4-D. These corn and soybean plants, produced by Dow AgroSciences, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, would be the first developed to be resistant to the herbicide.
According to experts, the introduction of these new crops could cause 2,4-D use to jump, big time. Chuck Benbrook, a pesticide policy expert with the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University, has estimated that if it’s approved, the engineered corn could cause applications of 2,4-D to jump 20-fold by 2019.
That’s particularly concerning because experts have long shown that 2,4-D causes serious harm to humans, especially when used over vast swaths of farmland and lawns. Largely because of such concern, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to revoke the chemical’s approval, first granted in 1948.
NRDC researchers and other critics of 2,4-D point to studies showing the chemical is a neurotoxin and that exposure to it can cause hormone disruption, certain forms of cancer and genetic mutations. The chemical has also been linked to lowered sperm counts, liver disease and Parkinson’s disease as well as adverse effects on reproductive and immune systems. What’s further worrisome is that 2,4-D is known to drift, affecting areas near farms, including streams, rivers and wildlife.
In April 2012 the EPA rejected the NRDC’s petition, stating that the group did not prove that the chemical was unsafe in the manner it is used. Despite the EPA’s actions, public health advocates have maintained that there are serious human health impacts, based on compelling evidence from peer-reviewed studies around the world. A University of Minnesota study found a greater frequency of genetic mutations in pesticide applicators who had higher rates of 2,4-D in their urine. A National Cancer Institute study found farmers exposed to 2,4-D upward of 20 days a year had a higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma than nonfarmers did, by a factor of six. The EPA’s fact sheet notes that the chemical has shown toxic effects on the thyroid and gonads and expresses concern about potential “endocrine-disrupting effects.”
With all these risks, why are chemical companies like Dow and Monsanto formulating seeds to be resistant to this decades-old chemical with a terrible health track record? The USDA said these new crops are intended to “help address the problem of weeds that have developed resistance to other herbicides.”
The real motivation for introducing new herbicide-resistant seeds is Monsanto’s and Dow’s bottom lines; it is one of the best ways to boost sales of chemicals.
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