An article in the Washington Post this weekend highlighted some awful actions taken by the U.S. military in order to avoid paying veterans who may have been affected by Agent Orange lingering on planes after the Vietnam War. Much of it speaks for itself:
In 2010, the Air Force destroyed 18 of the Vietnam-era aircraft in part because of concerns about potential liability for Agent Orange, according to Air Force memos documenting the destruction…
The Air Force aborted plans to sell some of the planes in 1996, after evidence surfaced that 18 of them might still be contaminated with TCDD dioxin, a carcinogen associated with Agent Orange, according to Air Force document… The Air Force did not notify the post-Vietnam crews or Boneyard employees of the potential risk, according to Air Force documents…
Officials at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, which oversaw the planes, approved a consultant’s recommendation in 2009 to “dispose of/recycle the 18 UC-123K ‘Agent Orange’ aircraft as soon as possible to avoid further risk from media publicity, litigation, and liability for presumptive compensation,” according to a base memo in August 2009.
Subsequent testing of 17 aircraft in August 1996 detected “strong potential of low level concentrations of dioxin,” according to Air Force documents.
In December 1996, the Air Force requested the government terminate the sales, warning that “the potential for harm to individuals from dioxin contamination is great.”
It’s pretty sad when documents exist admitting the wrongdoing and the danger of these chemicals to people around it yet no action will be taken to compensate the victims who will suffer the consequences. Especially sad when considering the amount of money the U.S. spends on defense and heaves upon defense contractors.
And, of course, these are just the lingering effects of Agent Orange on people who were not around when the actual spraying was being done and not the people who suffered the 20 million gallons that were dropped by U.S. forces on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, a clear violation of Geneva.
A good article in the NY Times on growing dissent in Vietnam due to the slowdown of economic growth there in the nation’s economy which grew tremendously during the 1990’s by installing capitalist reforms. But now, even though the economy is expected to grow by 4-5 percent this year, the people are becoming unhappy and expressing it on the internet.
What should be taken away from this article, though, is that fully Marxist economic systems are failing in their last bastions of existence. Castro recently commented that Communism did not work and then we see problems like these troubles in Vietnam. And although I’m a radical leftist, I do not believe in full-heartily instilling Marxist economic plans in nations because it just doesn’t work. The people remain poor over time and dissent ends up rising because, overall, people want capitalist wealth. But what should remain is the Marxist spirits rather than the rules.
Marx wanted a better world for the working peoples of capitalist nations. That’s what should be taken from his works. Sure, Das Kapital does not set out a form of economic policy that works, but the humanity of it can still exist even in capitalist countries. Look at Europe. Socialist tinted policies such as a “safety net” for unemployed workers during bad economic stretches, free public universities, and free healthcare stretch across most of the developed Western nations. And even Cuba, according the CIA World Fact Book, which is still following Marxist policies has a higher literacy rate and lower infant mortality rate that the United States. They even have better medical research systems whom the U.S. buys cancer treating drugs from.
So Marx can still be alive even if Marxist economic policies cannot.
Read the article here.
Why are we still occupying Afghanistan? Have we not crippled Al Quaeda in the country and killed bin Laden? Do not the majority of Americans think we should pullout now?
Sure, the Taliban have made a comeback and we are currently negotiating with them. But judging by events on the ground we cannot do anything about that. We have found ourselves in another Vietnam. There are no objectives to be accomplished, we are propping up a puppet regime, and an unfriendly ruling party are poised to assume power as soon as we leave. But the world did not end when the NVA rode their tanks into Saigon.
And maybe we should never have invaded Afghanistan at all. Maybe a limited military strategy involving special forces, armed drones, and negotiations with the former Taliban government would have been more desirable. But we had to get into the nation building business.
But instead of thinking through our invasion, we acted out of pure emotion. Someone had to pay for 9/11, and those people were the people of Afghanistan (and, later, Iraq). Emotion and hubris, not logic or an examination of history (mainly, the failed invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets), led us right into a another quagmire. – Kleier