American veterans stand for justice for Vietnamese AO victims

All American veterans who are expected to attend an international conference on Agent Orange (AO) and its effects on people to be held in Ha Noi on March 28-29, said they will strive for justice for AO victims in Viet Nam.

David Cline, President of Veterans for Peace, told Viet Nam News Agency reporters that he will try to seek "justice for all, especially for Vietnamese Agent Orange/Dioxin victims” at the coming meeting in Viet Nam.

Cline, who is also o­ne of the National Coordinators of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and Co-Chairs of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign, was exposed to AO in Viet Nam's southwestern province of Tay Ninh in 1967. He is o­n the Veterans Administration registry of those exposed to AO, however, he has not yet experienced any symptoms.

"I believe that obtaining justice for AO victims will set a critical legal precedent that will help victims of other poisonous weapons in their fight for justice," said Joan Anne Duffy Newberry, who was exposed to AO while serving as an American military nurse at Cam Ranh Bay in Viet Nam from 1969 -1970.

Newberry said she wants to attend the AO conference to coordinate with people from other countries, so that they may work together to seek justice for all victims of Agent Orange, and "to set precedents of holding nations and corporations accountable for their actions in the hope of preventing future 'Agent Orange-type weapons' from being used."

The former military nurse is a member of Veterans for Peace, Santa Fe chapter and was the local organiser for the Agent Orange Justice Tour last fall.

She believed that her exposure to Agent Orange caused an intestinal birth deformity in her daughter's son, nearly killing him, and also caused her to develop breast cancer in 1996 and ovarian cancer in 2004. "Three other nurses with whom I served have also developed breast cancer," she added.

“All veterans who have suffered from Agent Orange/Dioxin, American or Vietnamese, should be compensated. It’s the moral of life,” stressed  Frank Corcoran, an American veteran who was exposed to Agent Orange in Quang Nam province in 1968. He has prostate cancer and is receiving veterans disability benefits. Frank was the local Philadelphia organiser for the Agent Orange Justice Tour  in the past fall.


Meanwhile, Daniel J. Shea, another American veteran, said he may have been exposed to Agent Orange in Quang Tri, or Da Nang central provinces during the war in Viet Nam. His first  son, Casey, was born  in 1977 with a congenital heart disease, cleft palate and other stomach and groin abnormalities. Casey had heart surgery in 1981, fell into a coma for seven weeks and eventually died in his father's arms.


However, doctors did not recognise that there was links between his possible exposure to Agent Orange, Blue or  any other biological toxins to Casey's birth defects. Daniel considered he was betrayed by the denials of the effects of Agent Orange.

Daniel said he wanted to go to the conference to tell his story and heal the old wounds.