The Hidden Costs of War

The Contrary Perspective

Agent Orange victims Nguyen and Hung Vuong Pham, ages 14 and 15, as captured by Brian Driscoll, photographer, in 2008.(Huffington Post, 2013, see link in article) Agent Orange victims Nguyen and Hung Vuong Pham, ages 14 and 15, as captured by Brian Driscoll, photographer, in 2008.(Huffington Post, 2013, see link in article)

W.J. Astore

If you’re in the U.S. military or you’re a veteran, you probably know casualty figures, especially deaths, from America’s wars.  To cite one example, America lost more than 58,000 men in the Vietnam War.  Their names are inscribed on the “The Wall” in DC.  I’ve been there.  Seeing all those names is a devastating experience.

But “The Wall” undercounts the number of American dead from that war.  Just the other day, I was talking to a veteran, a graduate of West Point, about Vietnam.  He told me he had two classmates who became pilots and who worked with Agent Orange, a toxic chemical defoliant, in Vietnam.  They both died later of brain tumors from their exposure to the chemical. Their…

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