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Letter from Vietnam War Widow to Senator Jim WebbSalem-News.com
As a Vietnam veteran, Webb is against legislation to help other veterans suffering from Agent Orange contamination.
(CYPRESS, Calif.) - During a five year period in the Vietnam War, between 1965 and 1970, approximately 12,000,000 US gallons (45,000,000 l; 10,000,000 imp gal) of Agent Orange were sprayed in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia. It has caused generations of horrible birth defects and it has claimed endless tens of thousands of lives. This practice allowed the US military to defoliate hte jungles Vietnam, removing plants and other vegetation that allowed Communist fighters to conceal their locations, depriving guerrillas of food and cover, and destroying the ability of peasants to support themselves in the countryside.
U.S. Senator James Webb, D-Va., is a Vietnam veteran, but he has made it clear that he is not here to simply back the progress of of the Veterans Administration in its fight on behalf of veterans, against Agent Orange.
American veterans began filing claims for compensation in 1977 and were denied. By 1980 a group formed in New Jersey to study the impacts of Agent Orange, and that work led to an article published in 1988, by the American Medical Association. Finally, in 1991, Congress enacted the Agent Orange Act, which gave the Department of Veterans Affairs the authority to declare certain conditions 'presumptive' to exposure to Agent Orange/Dioxin. This allowed veterans who served in Vietnam to receive treatment and compensation for these conditions. You could gather from that history, that the struggle of the Vietnam vet when it comes to Agent Orange, has been a long and difficult one. Generations of offspring in both Vietnam and the U.S. have paid the price. The birth defects are horrible in Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands of American families were affected, millions in SE Asia.
Many years passed before actual responsibility was established. The U.S. company behind all of this death and destruction has never been accountable for their actions; Monsanto is who brought this problem on the backs of the world's citizens. The company should not be allowed to exist, and thousands of veterans say a moral nation would take it apart and sell it off in an attempt to force responsibility.
Webb says he'll use a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing set for 23 Sept., to have Shinseki explain his decision to compensate Vietnam veterans, and many surviving spouses, for three more ailments including heart disease. As the Montgomery Advertiser reported, "Shinseki announced last October that ischemic heart disease, Parkinson's disease and B-Cell leukemia will be added to the list of illnesses presumed caused by exposure to defoliants, including Agent Orange, used to clear jungle in combat areas during the war."
-- forward by Tim King
This letter is from a Vet's widow to Senator Webb.
July 19, 2010
Senator James Webb
Ref: September 2010 Veterans Affairs Hearing
My name is Dixie Miller. I was born on Guam April 15th, 1948. My father served in the United States Marine Corps for over twenty years and stationed on Guam after The War for “clean-up”. He is now deceased. We moved back when I was three months old and lived on various bases from El Toro, to Alameda in California, and Cherry Point in North Carolina.
Mother always spoke of how the bases on Guam were sprayed every day because of the huge critters that invaded the Quonset hut we lived in on the base. Civilians did the sprayings so there is really no government record to access. However, I am going to get a notarized statement from my mom so I have it in support of those stationed on Guam.
I never really thought much about it until my husband Mike died in 1991 and I started researching why he died as he did; like a poisoned rat.
Mike served in the United States Army as a demolitions engineer, stationed at Pleiku. He was there for the TET phase 1 & phase II; I have his orders; from October 1967 until February 1969. He was also at Hamburger Hill with the 4th ID in support. There are many who will attest to this who were there. He came home very ill with not only PTSD, which was not even a medical term at the time, but various other illnesses. Those illnesses included diabetes, hypothyroidism, and neuropathy, anemia, which was probably leukemia, heart disease, ulcers, and ultimately, various cancers. The doctor treating him stated his vomiting and pain as being “just because he is a Vietnam veteran, and all Vietnam veterans are mentally disturbed”. This comment was directed at me in front of my husband and daughter Michelle who was fifteen at the time. I wanted to know how you die such a horrible, painful death from being mentally ill. Hence, I had an autopsy done.
Before writing to you Senator, I researched exactly who you are because I had never heard of you before. I am aware you are a senator from Virginia and a decorated Marine who served in Vietnam. For this, I thank you for your service and congratulate you for your achievements. I also am aware of your education and it is very impressive. At the same time, it is rather confusing as to why you have made some of the comments you have. They are something a politician would make looking for another „feather in his hat‟ so to speak, but not a Vietnam combat veteran.
Rather, I should say, not any Vietnam combat veteran I know. Therefore, because of what I now know about you, I have a few questions.
First, referencing comments you made regarding statistics from an online article from jdnews.com dated June 18, 2010. It states you said, “When the law was passed (HR 4899), there were two areas that raised questions…” “… the presumption of exposure for anyone who had been in Vietnam; 2.7 million had an automatic presumption of exposure.”
Actually Senator, according to our governments statistics over six million served during the Vietnam War. (Ref: VetPop 1990) Depending on whom you choose to believe the number that actually set foot “in country” varies. So yes, everyone that set foot in country should be compensated. Actually, everyone who serves this country in war should be compensated without any questions at all.
You also stated “On any given day in Vietnam they say (who are “they”?), about 10 percent of the people (our troops and allies?), were actually out in direct combat.” Where did you get that figure? As a person who has spoken with many regarding statistics within your own government your comments present very inaccurate information. It is also a statement that demeans our veterans and goes against everything our country stands for.
I have researched, spoken to scientists, those who have done independent studies (independent of our government), I even have a map of the sprayings and have a documented conversation from one of our elite Air Force troops who was in the very flawed „Ranch Hand Study‟, who told me he sprayed our troops directly. He had to make emergency dumps all over the place. That means the waterways and every inch of land, where our troops served was drenched with deadly chemicals. Our troops were inundated with poisons that as one Dr. Wayne Dwernychuk (Hatfield Consultants www.hatfieldgroup.com) told me, “may reside in soils for over 100 years”. The chemicals used are resistant to degradation and require sophisticated and expensive technologies to assist in its eradication.
I was also told, winds, water, simply touching anything where the chemicals were sprayed can enter the body through ingestion of dust particles, inhalation, and absorption. Once in the body these chemicals go to the liver, and other fatty organs/tissues and start raising havoc at will. It may start immediately, or it may not happen for years because everyone is a unique being.
The United States government owes everyone that served substantial compensation, free medical care for life, a home, and some dignity, of which you are denying them. You, a Vietnam veteran yourself, are turning your back on your own brothers. Shame on you and shame on our government.
That you are questioning what was made law many years ago and seemingly do not understand or have any idea why, makes many question your reliability and your agenda. Do you have any idea what you are saying and presenting as fact? When you present statistics you should know as educated as you are, you need to back them up. Do you realize how you hurt veterans, their families, and our allies with your words? You are saying that those who go to the Veterans Administration for help for whatever reason are lying. It appears as long as you remain supported with taxes from the American people, and people are willing to die so you can live the life you do, it does not matter to you or any of those who are suppose to be representing us. You are not a representative from what I have read. You are a self-indulging politician who has used his service in Vietnam to mask your need for power and glory.
You and your associates are also denying those who served on Guam their due rights for treatment and compensation. That is criminal. Chemicals have been used on Guam since before WWII. You would know that if you and your colleagues knew what they were doing.
If you really want a fair and true hearing in September, may I suggest you have the scientists appear behind the studies? That would include Dr. Jeanne Stellman(Stellman Study), Dr. Wayne Dwernychuk (retired) with the Hatfield Consultants, Betty Mekdeci from the birth defect organization, veterans such as Paul Sutton, Gary White, Charles Kelly, Diana Dwan Poole and I will give you lots of other names should you ask me for them. The authors of books such as „Waiting for an Army to Die‟, victims of the flawed Ranch Hand Study, the veterans who were used AGAIN by their own government, will probably be very happy to share. I will gladly appear to show you my husbands‟ orders, his dd214, medical reports and autopsy along with my children who got to watch him slowly die. I could go on and on, but you surely know what I am getting at. Just a bunch of politicians and government-funded studies are insufficient to prove anything to the veteran or their families. It is just another slap in the face.
By the way, the reason the Ranch Hand Study and many other government studies are flawed is for one they are each a conflict of interest scientifically. When you have a study done for the government, funded by the government, and with employees of the government, the information is invalid in the end. Everyone knows this if they know anything at all about studies. That would be like me paying my mom lots and lots of money, to do a study on me, about me, for me. Now really Senator, that is negligent, fraudulent, and criminal don‟t you think? Everyone I know that is aware of the studies done up to this point, feel like I do. You really cannot fool us. We are not uneducated, brainless imbeciles as you may like to think and we are all very aware of what a politician does for a living off our tax dollars.
I was going to send you supporting documentation for every piece of data I have. However, you, a senator and a Vietnam veteran should already know it and have it. You certainly have access to it just as I do because it is readily available over the Internet and in books. Also Senator you are married to a Vietnamese woman, right? Do you support the supposedly thousands of Vietnamese who have suffered as they say from the chemicals used during the war with not one scientific study in support of them individually? I know about the land because of the studies done by Hatfield Consultants and Dr. Wayne Dwernychuk. How much have you donated in support of the Vietnamese along with other Vietnam veterans?
I am hoping to hear directly from you with a response Senator. Please either write me directly or respond via email, which I prefer at email@example.com. I want to be able to share your response with everyone. Looking forward to hearing from you.
I remain, respectful at this point.
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