GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

September 13, 2013

Letter: Chemical weapons and our own hypocrisy

To the editor:

President Obama says we cannot tolerate the use of chemical weapons against a populace.

But could the president look the people of the world in the eye and admit that we have condoned, in two instances, our use of chemical weapons against others during the past 50 years?

During the 1970s in Vietnam, we sprayed 20 million gallons of Agent Orange over 3.6 million acres to defoliate trees and kill crops.

Agent Orange contains dioxin a chemical toxin. The effects of Agent Orange on the the men, women and children living in these sprayed areas and many of our own armed services personnel was deadly. The diseases and cancers contracted by these individuals include: heart, liver and respiratory diseases, prostate cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Hodgkins disease, leukemia and multiple myeloma.

In 1984, the manufacturers of Agent Orange agreed to a class action settlement of $180 million to the veterans who had been exposed.

In the 1980s, we were allied with Saddam Hussein in a war against Iran. We supported the Iraq military with money, weapons, advisers, tactical support on the ground — and chemicals. We turned a blind eye when Hussein used mustard gas, sarin and nerve gas against the Iranian troops. More than 20,000 Iranian soldiers died.

Our government needs to face up to its hypocrisy and restore our trust by telling the truth about our use of chemical weapons.

SUSAN B. FIELD

Western Avenue, Gloucester

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