A Historiography of USA/Monsanto Empathy

A Historiography by Richard D. Hartwell


With regard to the inequity of care for Agent Orange disabilities provided to US service members as opposed to that provided to the Vietnamese, I will let the following references, and dollar comparisons, speak volumes! The withholding of assistance to Viet Nam by the US was based solely on its being a Communist government. I cite Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratified by the member countries of the United Nations {including the United States) in 1948:

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

And Article 25:

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

The collusion between and among large US corporations, the US military, and the US government is arrogant in the extreme and, in my mind at least, qualifies as crimes against humanity. President Eisenhower warned the people of the United States, and of the world, of the evils of “the military-industrial complex” a mere four years after the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

America’s Proud History of Post-War Aid

That’s why the United States worked to rebuild post-war Europe, investing $22 billion — or roughly $182 billion in real 21st-century dollars adjusted for inflation — in economic foreign assistance across 16 war-torn nations from 1946 to 1952. To be sure, America’s post-war commitment to Western Europe demonstrated our nation’s character. Yet it also advanced our economic interests. America’s $182 billion in economic foreign assistance to Europe amounts to far less than the more than $250 billion in goods that the United States now annually exports to those countries. . . .

After World War II, the United States also understood the strategic importance of using foreign assistance and other tools to aid and rebuild post-war Japan. Between 1946 and 1952, Washington invested $2.2 billion — or $18 billion in real 21st-century dollars adjusted for inflation — in Japan’s reconstruction effort. That amounts to more than one-third of the $65 billion in goods that the United States exported to Japan in 2013. Today, Japan is a mature democracy, the world’s third largest economy and one of America’s most important allies in the Asia-Pacific.

The Vietnam War and Its Impact – Vietnam and the united states

Following North Vietnam’s victory in 1975, the U.S. attitude toward Vietnam was antagonistic. In the Paris Peace Accords, the United States had agreed to provide $3.3 billion over five years to help rebuild the shattered infrastructure of Vietnam. Rather than meeting its obligations, the United States extended to all of Vietnam the trade embargo against communist North Vietnam that had been ratified under the Trading with the Enemy Act passed during the early years of the conflict.

United States assistance to Vietnam

U.S.-Vietnam diplomatic and economic relations were non-existent for more than fifteen years following communist North Vietnam’s victory in 1975 over U.S. ally South Vietnam. During that time, the United States maintained restrictions on foreign assistance to unified Vietnam. . . .

Prime Minister Pham Van Khai indicated that one of his mid- level priorities during his trip to the United States in June 2005 is obtaining U.S. assistance for Agent Orange victims. During President Bill Clinton’s five-day trip to Vietnam in 2000, the United States agreed to set up a joint research study on the effects of dioxin/Agent Orange. Over three million [Viet Nam’s estimate is five million] Vietnamese suffering from the alleged effects of Agent Orange were part of a class action suit filed in U.S. Federal District Court in Brooklyn against the chemical companies that manufactured the defoliant. The case was dismissed in March 2005, in a ruling that was widely publicized in Vietnam. In April 2005, the Bush Administration discontinued funding of a grant to conduct research in Vietnam on the possible relationship between Agent Orange and birth defects. The justification for the decision was that the Vietnamese Ministry of Health had not given its approval for the study. . . .

Economic assistance was resumed in 1991, when the administration of George H. W. Bush announced plans to send $1.3 million to fit disabled Vietnamese with artificial limbs. The announcement came days after Washington and Hanoi agreed to open an office in Vietnam to resolve outstanding MIA cases. In subsequent years, annual aid flows were generally small and limited to disaster assistance and humanitarian programs—such as prosthetics and aid to orphans—to ameliorate the effects of the war.

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