Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search
 

rug

(82,333 posts)
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 09:53 AM Jun 2016

My fatherís war, my toxic inheritance

In Vietnam, Agent Orange claimed hundreds of thousands of victims, including my estranged dad. Could I be one too?



SUNDAY, JUN 19, 2016 05:59 AM EDT
STEPHEN M. KATZ, MIKE HIXENBAUGH AND CHARLES ORNSTEIN, PROPUBLICA

The package from my father arrived in 2009, a few months after my latest heart surgery. The yellow envelope contained a two-inch stack of documents: handwritten notes, old photographs, newspaper clippings, medical files and military service records.

Together, they told the story of a man I barely knew. I hadn’t heard from my father, Al Weigel, in more than 20 years.

At first, I didn’t read any of it. Why would I want to rip open that wound? I tossed the envelope onto a shelf in a closet, and there it sat for years, forgotten behind a pile of clothes. I didn’t know it held information that would link my life — and health — to a war waged before my birth.

It wasn’t until 2012, not long after I’d become a father, that I remembered the envelope. I pulled it back out, figuring someday I would want to tell my son where he came from.

http://www.salon.com/2016/06/19/a_fathers_war_a_sons_toxic_inheritance_partner/

24 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
My fatherís war, my toxic inheritance (Original Post) rug Jun 2016 OP
Incredible story. Agnosticsherbet Jun 2016 #1
Makes you wonder about all those who served in areas where Depleted Uranium was used. Ford_Prefect Jun 2016 #2
start by reading anything onethatcares Jun 2016 #3
The V.A. will follow it's mandate as provided by Congress. HereSince1628 Jun 2016 #6
They also needed it for recruiting purposes. bluescribbler Jun 2016 #10
Yes, it's sad, because down the road people forget wounded vets last decades HereSince1628 Jun 2016 #11
And for all of the Republicans' vaunted fiscal responsibility gratuitous Jun 2016 #7
2016: "STFU conspiracist!" MisterP Jun 2016 #16
Research the archives here from BushCheney's era. Also Google for US soldiers' children&wives health Hekate Jun 2016 #20
I think I read where that material was used in places like Kosovo. Anywhere the A-10 was Ford_Prefect Jun 2016 #22
Al is 73. My age. I was drafted but rejected because I was born blind in one eye. Hoppy Jun 2016 #4
Epigenetics. . . . nt Bernardo de La Paz Jun 2016 #5
What a great story! AllyCat Jun 2016 #8
When I went to Vietnam elljay Jun 2016 #9
I work with someone who has traces of Agent Orange in her system lunatica Jun 2016 #12
condolence on your father's death heaven05 Jun 2016 #13
Monsanto and Dow KNEW Agent Orange had these effects, but PatrickforO Jun 2016 #14
Remarkable story PatSeg Jun 2016 #15
Zep said that: "The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath." PatrickforO Jun 2016 #18
Seriously PatSeg Jun 2016 #19
Because they care more about profits than people. PatrickforO Jun 2016 #23
I think it is even more than greed PatSeg Jun 2016 #24
They are increasingly finding that this is also causing blindness now condoleeza Jun 2016 #17
An amazing story malaise Jun 2016 #21

Ford_Prefect

(8,106 posts)
2. Makes you wonder about all those who served in areas where Depleted Uranium was used.
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 11:12 AM
Jun 2016

What are they carrying around and who will be affected by it, too?

onethatcares

(16,407 posts)
3. start by reading anything
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 11:31 AM
Jun 2016

involving the first battle for Fallujah.

I don't have concrete examples but the evidence is beginning to mount.

Of course, the VA and the political system will delay and deny until they can no longer do so.

Peace

HereSince1628

(36,063 posts)
6. The V.A. will follow it's mandate as provided by Congress.
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 11:37 AM
Jun 2016

Unfortunately, the best thing to happen to Vietnam Vets exposed to Agent Orange (I'm one of those, and I wasn't a combatant) was the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Leveraging approval for funding those wars required spending money to address outstanding problems of who was authorized to get VA coverage.

That sad state of political affairs will probably also describe the future.

bluescribbler

(2,175 posts)
10. They also needed it for recruiting purposes.
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 12:10 PM
Jun 2016

Had to convince the young men that They'd take care of them after the war.

gratuitous

(82,849 posts)
7. And for all of the Republicans' vaunted fiscal responsibility
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 11:42 AM
Jun 2016

The cost of taking care of the people who go off to kill and die in our names never quite makes it into the budgetary calculations.

MisterP

(23,730 posts)
16. 2016: "STFU conspiracist!"
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 01:07 PM
Jun 2016

2017: "STFU conspiracist!"
2018: "STFU conspiracist!"
2019: "STFU conspiracist!"
2020: "STFU conspiracist!"
2021: "STFU conspiracist!"
2022: "STFU conspiracist!"
2023: "you're still on that? that was two decades ago! the system has worked and once the evidence was in measures were taken!"

Hekate

(92,500 posts)
20. Research the archives here from BushCheney's era. Also Google for US soldiers' children&wives health
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 04:56 PM
Jun 2016

There was one unit speaking out saying that not one healthy child had been born since the men returned, and that their wives were getting sick as well. Depleted Uranium was aerosolized and unavoidable.

May Bush and Cheney rot in that Hell they claim to believe in.

Ford_Prefect

(8,106 posts)
22. I think I read where that material was used in places like Kosovo. Anywhere the A-10 was
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 05:08 PM
Jun 2016

used for "peace keeping" as well. I don't think they flew them over Libya but there is a set flying patrol over the South China Sea. Which is to say nothing about the Depleted Uranium rounds used in training. Kinda makes you wonder where all that dust is now.

I didn't mean to hijack this thread but you have to wonder if the soldiers and their immediate families have been harmed by the residue and the long term toxicity, just what has happened to civilians and opposition troops in the areas where those rounds were fired. I'm old enough to remember the warnings about fallout and dust from the nuclear tests here and abroad. I'm sure many of us saw the maps of wind drift from Chernobyl, too.

The A-10 served in Operation Desert Shield, and Operation Desert Storm. The A-10 also participated in other conflicts such as Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and against the Islamic State in the Middle East.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairchild_Republic_A-10_Thunderbolt_II
 

Hoppy

(3,595 posts)
4. Al is 73. My age. I was drafted but rejected because I was born blind in one eye.
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 11:31 AM
Jun 2016

I can't imagine what my life would be like if I had served.

elljay

(1,178 posts)
9. When I went to Vietnam
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 12:09 PM
Jun 2016

to adopt my daughter, I saw a few older children in the orphanage. There was one teenage girl who had a severely twisted spine. I remember feeling sad because the condition probably would have been treatable if she were born in the US. The orphanage was on the Mekong in an area heavily sprayed with Agent Orange. The homes hung over the river, which was used for cooking water, fishing, bathing, and bathroom. We bought toys at a local store and gave them to the neighborhood kids who were playing in the street. Now I wonder if that girl was an AO victim and about he effect on those other children and what my country may have done to them in that stupid, stupid war.

lunatica

(53,410 posts)
12. I work with someone who has traces of Agent Orange in her system
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 12:41 PM
Jun 2016

She's in her late 30s. She has a compromised immune system and it plays havoc with her health. Her father is a Vietnam veteran so there's the connection. She has all the necessary medical paperwork in her file at work so they can't fire her for being absent so often. When she gets sick she usually ends up in the hospital because even the flu becomes life-threatening in a day or two.

Even though Management can't fire her because of her medical condition, they never stop trying to find something to fire her over. So she always has that two pronged battle in her life. Her health and fighting for her job because of her health.

She does fight it though and so far has won every battle. We belong to a the Teamsters Union and they have managed to fight for her up to now.

Which brings to mind that our union and the University of California are in contract talks now. So far one of the issues brought up by UC is that they want to be able to fire anyone who is out sick with the same thing too often. This is a very poorly disguised attempt or just a blatant effort to get rid of medically handicapped people and the union made UC take it off the table.

 

heaven05

(18,124 posts)
13. condolence on your father's death
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 12:47 PM
Jun 2016

caused by this chemical from Dow. I have the hand/nerve problems along with some of the other 'symptoms'. I first tried to alert VA to my problems in the early 90's, they essentially told me my concerns were my own. As my problems have grown worse, they now admit I'm fucked. Well, I just have to accept my looming fate and appreciate my every breath. I'm late 60's in age so I, given that other vet's from that era ara are dead from exposure, have been given extra years since my visit to Vietnam.....may you continue to live for you and your family.

PatrickforO

(14,722 posts)
14. Monsanto and Dow KNEW Agent Orange had these effects, but
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 12:57 PM
Jun 2016

the immoral, profit-mongering shits went ahead and assured the military it was 'safe.'

In my mind, this makes Monsanto and Dow WORSE than the VC or the NVA. THEY, not the Vietnamese were and are the enemy. Our enemy. Because they don't give a shit about ANY of us. No one. All they care about is profits. Take their CEO Hugh Grant for instance; he 'earned' $12.84 million in total compensation, $143.18 million over a five year period.

Like I said, all these greed-heads care for is padding their own pockets. We can all shrivel up and die horrible deaths as long as those profits keep coming in. Because, hey, think of all the VALUE this creates!

PatSeg

(49,257 posts)
15. Remarkable story
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 01:07 PM
Jun 2016

The aftermath of war can last for generations both physically and psychologically, yet the evil goes on.

PatrickforO

(14,722 posts)
18. Zep said that: "The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath."
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 02:37 PM
Jun 2016

Too bad the Ring Wraiths are still out there, eh?

PatSeg

(49,257 posts)
19. Seriously
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 03:37 PM
Jun 2016

I used to think we were really evolving, but lately it feels like we are regressing rapidly. The "Ring Wraiths" didn't go away evidently, they just changed their appearance and propaganda. How can anyone thrive on destruction and pain?

PatrickforO

(14,722 posts)
23. Because they care more about profits than people.
Mon Jun 20, 2016, 02:01 AM
Jun 2016

I know that sounds trite, and has been bandied about so much that it is in danger of becoming cliche, but it is very true in this case. Mordor is alive and well and this, unfortunately, is it.

PatSeg

(49,257 posts)
24. I think it is even more than greed
Mon Jun 20, 2016, 11:48 AM
Jun 2016

for many of them. It is also power. They treat the world like a big game board. Countries and people are their pawns and they have no regard for how their decisions affect their "game pieces". That is how Churchill treated the Mideast when he drew arbitrary borders without any input from the peoples affected. His contempt for other races and cultures was arrogant and dangerous, but he gave very inspiring speeches.

We see the same history repeating over and over again.

condoleeza

(814 posts)
17. They are increasingly finding that this is also causing blindness now
Sun Jun 19, 2016, 02:12 PM
Jun 2016

Have a friend who was in Vietnam in 67-69 who is now legally blind because of AO. His boys and only grandchild appear to be OK, but am going to forward that link to his wife to read to him.

Have neighbors who were boat people and came to the US in '72. They go back to Vietnam 6 months a year and share care of their elderly parents and other relatives whose health rapidly declined b/c of AO with their siblings/cousins.

War never ends. Yet another reason I can't support HRC until I absolutely have no other choice.

Latest Discussions»General Discussion»My fatherís war, my toxic...