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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 23, 2013 at 7:01 AM

Chemical weapons in Syria

U.S. has no credibility

Demonstrators opposed to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad gather on the lawn of the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, as Congress returns to work from August recess. President Barack Obama is seeking authorization from Congress for a military strike against Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons in the civil war there. [AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana]

Demonstrators opposed to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad gather on the lawn of the Capitol in Washington, Sept. 9, 2013. President Barack Obama is seeking authorization from Congress for a military strike against Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons in the civil war there. [AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana]

How is Syria’s alleged use of sarin gas different from the use of Agent Orange by the U.S. during the Vietnam War? [“Kerry calls on U.N. to move on Syria,” News, Sept. 20.]

I submit there is little difference, aside from the lopsided scale of use, between a death by sarin gas and death by Agent Orange. The result is the same.

Various estimates put the amount of Agent Orange sprayed over South Vietnam during that war at approximately 20 million gallons.

Many hot spots still remain; one of the hottest of those spots is the old Air Base near Danang, where I was stationed in 1969. Our superiors told us Agent Orange was harmless to humans. Now, the Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes a long list of cancerous and other debilitating diseases linked to Agent Orange exposure. Birth defects continue to plague the children of exposed Vietnamese parents and Vietnam War veterans alike.

As a nation, we have no credibility with regard to policy on chemical-weapons use. Don’t even get me started on napalm.

All chemical weapons must be eliminated, period.

Giles Bohannon, Bellevue

Comments | More in Foreign policy, Middle East, Politics | Topics: agent orange, chemical weapons, sarin

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