Compensation: who deserves it?

In class we learned about Agent Orange, a mix of defoliants the U.S. military used to strip trees of their cover to expose the N. Vietnam and Viet Cong troops during the Vietnam War. While Agent Orange succeeded in this, and in destroying crops used to feed the Vietnamese troops, it also created many health problems for all of the soldiers, people living in Vietnam, and even family members of U.S. soldiers.


Because Agent Orange contains dioxin, it can cause tumors, birth defects, rashes, psychological problems, and cancer. Naturally, when these health problems began occurring, the U.S. soldiers and their families were upset about the negative effects on their health. In 1979, a lawsuit was filed against the manufacturers of Agent Orange, demanding compensation to the U.S. soldiers and their families. In five years, they were granted $180 million from seven of the manufacturers.

Millions of Vietnamese have also had detrimental health problems as a result of the exposure to Agent Orange.

  • 400,000 people were killed or maimed
  • .5M children were born with serious birth defects
  • 2M people in Vietnam suffer from cancer or other illnesses

Vietnam Agent Orange

Many of these people had nothing to do with the Vietnamese militaries, but still suffered from the effects of Agent Orange. I think is interesting that many times, the people who are involuntarily forced into a situation are NOT the ones compensated. A group of Vietnamese citizens also filed a lawsuit against the same chemical companies. However, in their case, the suit was dismissed.

Other cases where compensation wasn’t granted:

  • United States Slavery Reparations
  • Henrietta Lacks Immortal Cells
  • Tuskegee Experiments


Chelsea Walters





4 thoughts on “Compensation: who deserves it?

  1. This was perfectly stated and I loved the touch of the bold to emphasize your point. I was actually going to do this topic until I had seen that someone had already posted about it. I really enjoyed seeing what someone else had to say about the same topic that I was originally interested in!
    -Josie Silvey


  2. This blog stated really good points! I think it is incredibly wrong how none of these people being affected by the dioxin are being compensated. This is a huge issue that needs to be addressed instead of just pushed to the side as if it’s not as bad as some of the other issues going on.
    -Traci Alig


  3. Wonderfully written post! While we learned about some of the effects in class of agent orange reading your post was another shock to what it did to another country’s people and how those people have been given no retribution about it. I know a family in the US that adopted some young children from Vietnam as an effort to help people from that country and I wish more US citizens would make an effort to do something on behalf of their nation.
    ~Asha Brogan


  4. I really like this topic choice myself because it is one of those things that you cant believe has actually happened. So many generations are going through this tragic ordeal. I couldn’t imagine living with the thought that you could have been normal if it wasn’t for other people who would never even end up meeting you ever. I really feel for those born with a disability because life is hard enough as it is and for those who are disabled it can be nearly unmanageable. I believe that the companies and government budgets that went toward this should receive the financial burden taken from their budgets and put towards physical rehabilitation outpatient services to ease lifes strain on these effected individuals.
    -Tymandra Amburgy


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