Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


This is coolbert:

One of the most controversial aspects of the Vietnam War was the use of defoliants.

Defoliants used to destroy the jungle canopy that hid enemy troops so well. A jungle canopy that offered camouflage for VC/NVA units. Camouflage that had to be denied.

Denying this jungle canopy was the target of defoliants such as Agent Orange.

It was the policy of U.S. military planners in Vietnam to deny the enemy vegetative cover within 400 meters either side of a main supply route [MSR] or a line of communication [LOC]. Defoliants and clear cutting were a means to ensure that the enemy could not conceal themselves in ambush along such routes.

Defoliants were widely used in Vietnam to this end. The application of Agent Orange from the back of trucks, from helicopters, and from aerial aircraft such as the C-123 was successful. Repeated, periodic spraying did deprive the enemy of cover so essential for a successful ambush to be conducted!!

The debate has always been at what cost to civilians and soldiers, Vietnamese and American both? Detriment to the environment for a very long term has also been a concern even decades after the last application of the herbicide was applied!!

"Agent Orange (as well as Agents Purple, Pink, Blue, White, and Green) contained dioxins which are alleged to have caused harm to the health of those exposed during the Vietnam War."

"Our Enemy was also the Agent Orange, Agent Blue, Agent Pink and Agent White that we know about that they sprayed directly on top of us in the early years in Vietnam in our Area of Operation."

Agent Orange was just ONE of a series of similar herbicides available to the U.S. military.

Other herbicides included:

* Agent Purple - - "Agent Purple was used only in the earliest stages of the spraying program, between 1962 and 1964. Only small amounts were sprayed in total."

* Agent Pink - - "Agent Pink was only used during the early "testing" stages of the spraying program, and was no longer used after 1964."

* Agent Blue - - "It was sprayed on rice paddies and other crops, in an attempt to starve the Vietnamese of valuable crops. Agent Blue is a mixture of two arsenic-containing compounds . . . Agent Blue is chemically unrelated to the more infamous Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the war."

* Agent White - - "Unlike the more infamous Agent Orange, Agent White did not contain dioxin"

* Agent Green - - "Agent Green was only used between 1962 and 1964, during the early "testing" stages of the spraying program."

More on these defoliants and their effect later!!



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