The U.S. and Vietnam Have a Common Enemy


Agent Orange, a dioxin-contaminated herbicide, is a defoliant that was used during the Vietnam War, which was to deny cover to the “enemy.” Agent Orange was sprayed from airplanes onto the ground without care as who was going to be affected by it.  Agent Orange eventually killed far more than just Vietnamese forests. Marines on the ground in Vietnam, Air Force personnel who loaded barrels of Agent Orange onto the planes, the Vietnamese people who lived there have all been grossly negatively affected by this defoliant.  There are 14 debilitating diseases, including cancers, that are a result of exposure to dioxin, as well as birth defects ( diminished mental capacity and stunted arms and legs) that negatively impact the ability to live independently. Now, fifty years later, the effects of dioxin are still ravaging the Vietnamese people and dioxin exposed veterans. Many have died. Vietnam is one huge Superfund (polluted location requiring long-term clean up of hazardous material) site. The book addresses a solution to making Vietnam again livable and how these two nations will work together to see this accomplished.

While reading From Enemies to Partners: Vietnam, the U.S., and Agent Orange the reader will be exposed to some relevant topics such as:

  • The moral reasoning for a fuller American response to the Agent Orange crisis
  • Steps both the United States and Vietnam can each take in a joint humanitarian initiative to resolve the legacy of Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam
  • How many victims of Agent Orange are living with its effects today and how they can most effectively be reached and helped
  • the critical issue of whether dioxin pollution still exists in Vietnam today
  • What exactly needs to be done to complete cleanup
  • The impact of Agent Orange on relations between the United States and Vietnam

About the authors:

Charles Bailey, PhD. worked for the Ford Foundation and was a grant maker for 33 years. He moved to Vietnam in 1997 where he became head of the Foundation’s Hanoi office and was also the representative for Vietnam and Thailand until September 2007. Under his direction the Foundation approved grants worth $95 million for working on economic development, arts, culture, sexuality and reproductive health, higher education, and international relations. In 1998 he began exploring ways to address Vietnam’s environmental challenges due to dioxin. In 2006 Bailey led a breakthrough on the issue of the dioxin contamination of Vietnam and mobilized funding to address “righting wrongs” which in 2018 amounted to $260 million with $30 coming from the private sector and $230 million from the U.S. Congress.

Le Ke Son, is a medical doctor with a PhD in toxicology and has led the Government of Vietnam’s efforts to find an equitable way to move forward.

From Enemies to Partners: Vietnam, the U.S. and Agent Orange. Charles R. Bailey,PhD and Le Ke Son, PhD. ISBN: 978-0-9993413-1-5  G. Anton Publishing, LLC

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  1. thanks for bringing this up Carol .The local veterans office promoted an Agent Orange ‘seminar’ here in Oregon while promising some resolution . Instead they had a speaker from D.C. harping about potential versus reality, in which he repeatedly announced ‘it’s all about the money ‘ , and ‘we need to stay focused on the future ‘ , meanwhile admitting nothing was to be done NOW . Looking around the room at old guys weary from the same old BS one could see there wasn’t much Future for them .The list of chemical compounds used in Viet Nam swamps Agent Orange . The good news ,the VA has admitted a few more conditions linked to A.O. , too late for my brother , the bad news, now for more tests and then, Reality versus Potential .

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