The Vietnam War ended April 30, 1975, yet the generation that sacrificed the most lives in this conflict continues to pay. Our government has agreed to spend $43 million cleaning up the environment where our husbands, brothers, sons, fathers, uncles, and friends laid down their lives. We’ve given enough to this foreign land where we didn’t want to go in the first place. But we did the honorable thing and went when our country called us.
Now, we are giving more. Our government has agreed to spend an additional $43 million by way of a new appropriation for the specific clean up of Agent Orange in Vietnam, the very place still stained with American blood. We’ve also promised the project will be completed within four years. We don’t make these promises in cleaning up our own environmental issues.
Over the past five years, Congress has appropriated about $49 million for environmental remediation and about $11 million to help people living with disabilities in Vietnam—regardless of the cause. The disabilities do not require proof of causal effect from the war.
The United States Social Security Disability Administration isn’t nearly as generous and the backlog of the Veterans Affairs adjudicating disability claims would be a laughing matter. That is, if the ramifications weren’t destroying our veterans’ lives as the years and the decades drag on while they are waiting to learn their fate.
For many years, doctors of both the Veterans Affairs hospitals and publicly-owned laboratories denied any possible illnesses associated with Agent Orange. Our veterans suffered needlessly for years without relief or compensation.
It’s now been proven that exposure to Agent Orange causes many medical issues. Some of the most common are: cancer(s), birth defects, infertility, diabetes, and numerous gastro-related issues.
It’s an ugly fact when I compare the price we the citizens of theUnited States of America paid for the Vietnam War while it was occurring. Don’t ask me to consider and even promise an environmental clean-up within four years. That makes me angry.
It’s argued that we must help Vietnam because they have become an important trading partner. Military ties have also strengthened and theSouth China Sea is rich in oil and gas reserves.
I believe environmental clean-up is an absolute necessity. Additionally, I believe we must take care of our own land, air, and waterways before we spend resources we borrow from China to clean up foreign soil.
How about you, where do you want to see the money we don’t have in our United States budget be appropriated?