VietNam Agent Orange-Dioxin Tour-Bernie Meyer


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In December 2008, Bernie Meyer, the "American Gandhi," traveled to VietNam to discover the impact of Agent Orange-Dioxin. This presentation shares his thoughts on the "Paradigm of War."

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  • Hello Bernie. I like what you have here. In Point 2 below you will note that Dr. James R. Clary military Scientist, is my father. I am and have been putting up information on Agent Orange.
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VietNam Agent Orange-Dioxin Tour-Bernie Meyer

  1. 1. Twentieth Century War Paradigm Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam Visit By Bernie Meyer and Catherine Sagan Commemorate 40th Anniversary of DC Nine Action December 24, 2008 to January 9, 2009
  2. 2. HUMAN SACRIFICE “When we initiated the herbicide programme in the 1960s, we were aware of the potential for damage due to dioxin contamination in the herbicide. We were even aware that the military formulation had a higher dioxin concentration than the civilian version, due to the lower cost and speed of manufacture. However, because the material was to be used on the enemy, none of us were overly concerned.” Military scientist James Clary
  3. 3. NOT JUST “THE ENEMY” “The War Behind Me establishes, sadly, the terrible fear that emerged from the horrors of My Lai --- that its easy cover up suggested that deliberate killing of civilians was widespread in heavily contested areas of south Vietnam. Yes, this book says, it did happen, and yes, as at My Lai, many of those Gis who did the killing were as much victims as those they fired upon.” SEYMOUR HERSH
  4. 4. Ly Thaito Vietnam was dominated by China for the first millennium A.D. Ly Thaito defeated the Chinese by a creative use of water technology. The photo of his statue is in Ha Noi. Vietnam understands “occupation” and resistance.
  5. 5. VAVA Vietnam Association for the Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) received Catherine and Bernie in Ha Noi to initiate our visit. Dr. Nguyen Thong Than, Vice President of VAVA received us with Ms Lak and another official. We left with the “Proceedings of the 2006 Conference on Agent Orange/Dioxin.”
  6. 6. THE FRIENDSHIP VILLAGE On Christmas day we visited The Friendship Village initiated by George Mizo in 1998 to serve victims of Agent Orange, both Vietnamese and US allies, both children and adult. The village is a very moving story of peace and reconciliation. George's platoon was completely wiped out during the 1968 Tet Offensive by troops under command of a general who associated with George in the establishment of the village.
  7. 7. Placard and flags of the nations Persons and Groups from seven nations participate in the establishment and maintaining of The Friendship Village. Vietnam, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States.
  8. 8. Agent Orange Dioxin, element in Agent Orange, is the most toxic chemical known to humans. It attaches itself to fatty tissues in the human body, causing numerous diseases and bodily defects. The United States sprayed 80 million liters of “defoliants” from 1961 to 1971 on jungle, crops,and around roads/bases, the most chemicals ever used in a war, a true weapon of mass destruction. There are an estimated 3,000,000 victims today out of 4.8 million exposed.
  9. 9. Health effects Cancer of lung, skin, prostate, liver Hodgkin lymphoma Diabetes Metabolism disorder Immune deficiency Birth defects And more
  10. 10. Lethality of Dioxin in Agent Orange About one half of the defoliants sprayed were Agent Orange. Estimates of quantities of the dioxin contained in Agent Orange spraying run from 336 Kg to 500-600 Kg. 80 grams inserted in the drinking water of Manhattan would kill 8 million inhabitants.
  11. 11. Environmental Effects More than three million hectares of forests (including mangroves) were sprayed with toxic chemicals. Wood resources, jungle animals and jungle specialties disappeared. Floods, soil erosion, droughts seriously affecting agriculture resulted. Agent Orange also was used extensively to destroy crops.
  12. 12. Lake with B 52 wreckage A good friend said there was a downed B 52 in an Ha Noi lake. My tour guide took me to the lake which is down an ally from the road in an urban area.
  13. 13. Visit left me with this question. Why does a government or a corporation sacrifice both military and civilian victims? Ernest Becker attributes this to guilt due to human puniness in the universe and aggrandizing power in an insightful chapter. Becker, Ernest, Escape From Evil, “The Nature of Social Evil,” pp 96-127.
  14. 14. Rural Women's Mobile Market From our Municipal Hotel in Ha Noi's old neighborhood we saw typical rural women who come to town selling farm produce, craft products, and many other items.
  15. 15. Silk Village On the outskirts of Ha Noi we visited Silk Village. Here, an entire community produces silk from moth cocoons, cloth with many designs and colors, clothing and other items. Stores complete the cycle.
  16. 16. Ho Chi Minh Entrance to a Ha Noi park to commemorate Ho Chi Minh
  17. 17. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Ho Chi Minh's body is preserved for viewing. This is similar to Lenin's body in Moscow.
  18. 18. Ho Chi Minh Museum The Museum contains a history of Ho Chi Minh's life before he became leader of the nation when he traveled the world and his leadership against the French after WW II and the United States after the French defeat.
  19. 19. Ho Chi Minh trail and war
  20. 20. Entrance to Museum of Literature This Museum includes three major buildings preceded by large gardens. The sequence builds the steps of initiation to knowledge according to Confucius, which is attained only by a few.
  21. 21. King's Shrine The King's Shrine is in the third building representing the highest level of knowledge. The Confucius presence and influence is due to the one thousand year domination by China.
  22. 22. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology The Viet (or Kinh) make up 86% of the population of Vietnam, comprising the largest of 54 ethnic groups belonging to 5 ethnolingusitic families. The Museum has an exterior site for village buildings and an interior building for cultural displays.
  23. 23. Army Museum The Ha Noi Army Museum has both outside and inside displays from wars, especially the War, Vietnam and the United States.
  24. 24. Army Museum The Museum has both outside and inside displays to show the history and results of war.
  25. 25. VAVA Hue Reception Catherine and Bernie are received in Hue by Nguyen Cuong and Le Chi after a night train ride from Ha Noi to Hue. At each reception we share information: VAVA about the services in the local area, we about the DC Nine action, the reason for our visit, and a donation of $100.00 to each site.
  26. 26. Family visits in Hue VAVA arranged visits to three families in Hue. The first family composed of grandfather, father, two children victimized by AO and a normal sister. The second family had Van Du (father), Ton Nu Thi Phuong and eight children, four with Agent Orange. The third family were adults with three AO men cared for by their sister.
  27. 27. Thien Hien Pagoda Bernie and Catherine visit with a monk who spoke good English about many subjects, including Thich Nhat Hanh who became a monk and received his training here.
  28. 28. VAVA in Da Nang We meet with Nguyen Thi Bien, VAVA leader in Da Nang. Bien said our arrival and visit is “emotional” for her. Among other things she said her niece is a victim of Agent Orange. Her brother sold his house to pay for her treatment.
  29. 29. Day Treatment Center
  30. 30. Cham Museum The Cham people once dominated this area of Vietnam.
  31. 31. Da Nang U.S. Airbase The Airbase is huge and closed. It is known as one of the three identified “hot spots” for Agent Orange. Situated close to the China Sea coast, the neighboring area is being developed for condo vacation tourists.
  32. 32. VAVA in Ho Chi Minh City VAVA received us at a hospital for victims of Agent Orange funded by Germany. Dr. HuynhThe Cuoc (center) and Mr. Le-Duc were among the greeters.
  33. 33. New Year's Day late afternoon Bernie and Catherine visit with Ms Tran Thuy Nhu Khanh, who set up the itinerary, and Do who was interpreter and tour guide with Peace Tours.
  34. 34. Presidential Palace This Presidential Palace is where the infamous Diem brothers resided before the coup ended their lives. They were most repressive to the Buddhists and citizens of South Vietnam. President Kennedy wanted to spare their lives, but his ambassador, Henry Cabot Lodge, allowed it. Kennedy was assassinated a few weeks later.
  35. 35. War Memorial Village memorial to War dead in Cu Chi area, typical in every village.
  36. 36. Village War Memorial
  37. 37. Cu Chi Tunnels The people in the Cu Chi area began resisting the French by digging tunnels to conduct guerrilla warfare. They also set up traps for the US troops like those which they historically used for animals.
  38. 38. Shrine to Buddhist Monk On June 11, 1963 Thich Quang Duc burned himself to death in Saigon City to protest the treatment of Buddhists in South Vietnam while in the sitting lotus position. This caught the world's attention.
  39. 39. War Museum In Ho Chi Minh City This is an extensive war museum. It includes a film about Agent Orange. General Walt Zumwalt was a commander who ordered the use of Agent Orange in his command area. His son was a lieutenant who died due to Agent Orange. He also suspects that the disease of his grandson was due to Agent Orange.
  40. 40. An added event After Catherine left, I had two days left in Vietnam. On one of the days I visited Da Long Bay north of Hanoi, a place of 3,000 islands.
  41. 41. Why we humans kill “All our human problems, with their intolerable sufferings, arise from man's ceaseless attempts to make this material world into a man-made reality … aiming to achieve on earth a 'perfection' which is only to be found in the beyond … thereby hopelessly confusing the values of both spheres.” Otto Rank quoted by Ernest Becker, Escape From Evil, p. 91