Remember Agent Orange, the Monsanto produced defoliant which was supposed to smoke out the Vietnamese enemy?
It was a crop killer, a cancer agent, a chemical weapon, sprayed by the tons across Vietnam. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, causing cancer and abnormalities in veterans here and more dramatically, in children in Vietnam, more than one and two generations since the end of the war. (Do the after effects of war ever really end?)
The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have their own legacies, depleted uranium, and something you might not have heard of: burn pit exposure. All those military bases constructed like mini cities, produce trash, loads of it: hundreds and thousands of plastic water bottles, body parts, ammo, vehicles, you name it, whatever is discarded is burned and burned hot, lit by jet fuel. Troops lived in this toxic smoke day in and day out. And they got sick, really sick and now they have tumors, organ damage, asthma, and they are dying. Who operated those burn pits? KBR and Halliburton.
A powerful group of veteran victims and their advocates sought justice through the courts, and last week, they lost big time. Bush appointed US District Court Judge Roger Titus ruled that private companies working for the US government – like KBR and Halliburton – can’t be sued.
All photos:Nina Berman