the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist
“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx
Jun 30, 2008
A court of federal appeals in New York has dismissed the case brought by Vietnamese people, victims of Agent Orange, against Dow Chemical, Monsanto and 30 other U.S. chemical companies.
Agent Orange was a defoliant made of dioxin, manufactured by the chemical companies named in the lawsuit. Eighteen million gallons of this deadly chemical was poured over Viet Nam between 1961 and 1971. The American military command explained it needed to kill vegetation in order to starve Vietnamese peasants, forcing them to flee to the cities, in other words, where they could more easily be controlled or bombed.
But dioxin does not attack only vegetation. It’s also extremely poisonous to humans. And those making it, as well as those using it, understood its uses very well.
Faced with the fact that large numbers of U.S. soldiers were affected by the dioxin, even though they were only indirectly in contact with Agent Orange, the U.S. military decided to stop using Agent Orange in 1971. In 1984, some of these chemical companies gave compensation to tens of thousands of U.S. veterans in exchange for dropping further charges. Dow Chemical, Monsanto and the others admitted in fact that Agent Orange was toxic to humans – at least for those with American nationality.
But millions of Vietnamese were affected by Agent Orange and developed cancer. In addition, the poisoning attacked future generations because women in contact with dioxin often gave birth to sick babies or ones with serious birth defects.
These were some of the Vietnamese victims whose case was dismissed in the New York court. In dismissing the case, the judges torturing logic and fact wrote “Agent Orange was used as a defoliant and not as a poison made to affect human populations.” In other words, the Vietnamese were only “collateral damage,” to use the term General Schwarzkopf made infamous during the first Gulf War.
The spokesman for Dow Chemical was said to be “satisfied with the tribunal’s decision.” The makers of this poison will be able to sleep in peace with their profits, and those who ordered the bombings will be able to rest on their laurels. They certainly have the U.S. “justice” system on their side.