Presenter Information

Sophia Johnson, Whitworth University

Start Date

9-4-2021 10:45 AM

End Date

9-4-2021 12:00 PM

Disciplines

History

Subjects

Agent Orange -- War use, Agent Orange -- Toxicology, Vietnam War (1961-1975) -- Chemical warfare, Herbicides -- War use

Description

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy approved the use of chemical defoliants in Vietnam. Taking British use of chemical defoliants during the Malayan Emergency as precedent, American counterinsurgency efforts used the potent “rainbow” herbicides to destroy enemy crops and jungle foliage. Although the use of Agent Orange was intended to be a limited counterinsurgency tactic, the rapid escalation of Agent Orange’s use, negligence in ensuring its safety, and its auxiliary intentional use on humans all indicate an irresponsible exercise in chemical warfare on behalf of the U.S. government. Sources examined include monographs such as David Zierler’s Invention of Ecocide: Agent Orange, Vietnam, and the Scientists Who Changed the Way We Think About the Environment, and Peter Sill’s Toxic War: The Story of Agent Orange. Additionally, peer reviewed articles from historical and scientific journals provide information on the origins and use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War. Agent Orange and the rainbow herbicides’ consequences on human health were largely overlooked at the time of their deployment and research on their long-term effects has been spotty, partially due to the nature of dioxin, the chemical byproduct that made these defoliants so dangerous.

PART OF SESSION 2B. UNCONVENTIONAL WEAPONS:

Comment: Dane J. Cash, Carroll College
Chair: Tom Taylor, Seattle University

Sophia Johnson, Whitworth University, undergraduate student
“From Counterinsurgency to Chemical Warfare: Technology Dependence and Agent Orange”

Dawson M. Neely, Gonzaga University, undergraduate student
“Project MKULTRA: How the CIA Used the Cold War to Commit Horrors on US Citizens”

Linda R. Zhang, University of Washington, undergraduate student
“The Blood Logs: Factors in the U.S. Decision to Classify the Japanese Biological and Chemical Warfare Program”

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/35252

Included in

History Commons

Share

COinS
 
Apr 9th, 10:45 AM Apr 9th, 12:00 PM

From Counterinsurgency to Chemical Warfare: Technology Dependence and Agent Orange

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy approved the use of chemical defoliants in Vietnam. Taking British use of chemical defoliants during the Malayan Emergency as precedent, American counterinsurgency efforts used the potent “rainbow” herbicides to destroy enemy crops and jungle foliage. Although the use of Agent Orange was intended to be a limited counterinsurgency tactic, the rapid escalation of Agent Orange’s use, negligence in ensuring its safety, and its auxiliary intentional use on humans all indicate an irresponsible exercise in chemical warfare on behalf of the U.S. government. Sources examined include monographs such as David Zierler’s Invention of Ecocide: Agent Orange, Vietnam, and the Scientists Who Changed the Way We Think About the Environment, and Peter Sill’s Toxic War: The Story of Agent Orange. Additionally, peer reviewed articles from historical and scientific journals provide information on the origins and use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War. Agent Orange and the rainbow herbicides’ consequences on human health were largely overlooked at the time of their deployment and research on their long-term effects has been spotty, partially due to the nature of dioxin, the chemical byproduct that made these defoliants so dangerous.

PART OF SESSION 2B. UNCONVENTIONAL WEAPONS:

Comment: Dane J. Cash, Carroll College
Chair: Tom Taylor, Seattle University

Sophia Johnson, Whitworth University, undergraduate student
“From Counterinsurgency to Chemical Warfare: Technology Dependence and Agent Orange”

Dawson M. Neely, Gonzaga University, undergraduate student
“Project MKULTRA: How the CIA Used the Cold War to Commit Horrors on US Citizens”

Linda R. Zhang, University of Washington, undergraduate student
“The Blood Logs: Factors in the U.S. Decision to Classify the Japanese Biological and Chemical Warfare Program”