The Vietnam War (1961-1975) is known for the massive bombings of North Vietnam. More insidious, however, yet less well-known to the general public, was the chemical war waged from 1961 to 1971against South Vietnam. An immense environmental disaster and a human catastrophe taking numerous forms: health, economic, socio-cultural …, it had dramatic consequences which are still felt today. The American government and the chemical companies involved have eluded their responsibilities. For years, a conspiracy of silence has obscured the toxicity of the defoliants used. Those responsible have the effrontery to continue denying it today. Humanitarian aid is incommensurate with the needs. It is at the government level that support for Vietnam must be organized and the demand for just reparations must be made.
During the Vietnam War, from 1961 to 1971, American aviation sprayed defoliants over Southern Vietnam to chase from the jungle the combatants taking shelter there, to cut the Ho Chi Minh trail by which weapons, supplies and medication came down from the North, to facilitate surveillance of roads, coastlines and waterways and to destroy the rice paddies, forcing villagers into “strategic hamlets” and thus depriving the guerillas of food and aid .
More than 77 million liters of defoliants were released by plane (95%), by helicopter, by boat, by tanker truck, and by men with backpack sprayers. More than 2,500,000 hectares were contaminated by these defoliants, the best known of which is Agent Orange. It contains dioxin, one of the most violent and most indestructible poisons known.
Millions of Vietnamese, soldiers, civilians, men, women, children, were injured by the spreading of Agent Orange/dioxin. Tens of thousands died on the spot. Two to four million survivors, according to the Vietnamese Red Cross, frequently present serious pathologies (cancers, leukemia, diabetes, skin diseases, including chloracne…) Ill or apparently healthy, individuals in contact with Agent Orange often give birth to severely handicapped children. Sometimes it is their grandchildren who are affected, without our understanding yet the mode of transmission.