Thursday, March 03, 2005

Vietnamese Citizens Sue Pentagon Companies

Good shit:

Vietnamese citizens who say they have suffered a life time of health problems after being poisoned by Agent Orange during the Vietnam war are suing the US chemical companies that provided the Pentagon with the toxic defoliant.

The case has huge implications. If successful it could open the way for claims against companies that produce weapons such as depleted uranium-tipped munitions which have been linked to cancer.

I highly doubt this case would be successful in the U.S., especially since it could have 'huge implications'. The Pentagon / DOW Chemical / Monsanto would fight it for another 20 years, by which time most of the victims would be dead. If the case ever got close to a finding against the killers they'd settle for some small amount of money if the remaining Vietnamese agree to keep quiet. Else, they'd promise/threaten the Vietnamese to appeal it until the end of time.

A couple of good lines in the article. First, is this, from the company/Pentagon lawyers:

Lawyers also stated that companies normally enjoyed exemption from criminal and civil liability for alleged war crimes.

That's the old 'hey, IBM sold computers and tabulating equipment to the Nazis to help them keep track of how many Jews and others they were exterminating (12 million people in all, 6 million of whom were Jews), and they didn't get punished, so neither should we!' Honorable.

But the judge said this:

"The fact that all power was centralised under Hitler did not permit all people operating under his orders to violate international law," he said.

Frickin liberal activist judges, man - tellin ya.

And this from...a Vietnam veteran?

Dave Cline, of the veterans group, Vietnam Veterans against the War, supported the action. He said US veterans had fought for years to receive compensation for 11 separate conditions and illnesses linked to Agent Orange.

"In Vietnam they say three million people still suffer," he said.

You mean, American citizens...soldiers....veterans....who fought in Vietnam for the elites of American society, and are championed during wartime, had to fight, upon returning 'home' to the United States...not only memories of the fierce Viet Cong resistance, not just raving anti-war types who spit on them and shouted obsceneties at them, but their own government? Who'd a thunk it?

And speaking of anti-war types, I don't know my Vietnam history, but I'm fixing to do some reading. In the meantime, I saw a snippet of the 'NATIONAL TEACH-IN ON IRAQ: How Can We End This War?' C-Span coverage on tv tonight. Aaaand, missed March madness while I was at it. But the few minutes I saw before I passed out was worth it - very informative. One of the speakers mentioned how U.S. soldiers started refusing to go on offensive operations. They would head out to the jungle and point their weapons towards the ground with a ribbon tied around their guns - or something like that. Thought that was a great story of resistance.

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