This essay addresses what can happen to Vietnamese civilians generations after a war has ended. These are portraits of individuals in Vietnam who have been impacted by birth defects the Vietnamese government believes is a result of dioxin contamination from herbicides sprayed by the United States during the Vietnam War (United States War). Both countries aggressively disagree on the cause of the birth defects, dismissing each other's science as faulty or politically motivated (While, at the same time, US military personnel can file and receive claims for illness and birth defects as a consequence of being sprayed or exposed to Agent Orange). While this political debate has simmered hundreds of thousands, some claim millions, of individuals and familys needing medical and monetary assistance wait for help, and environmental attention that would help reduce the numbers born with birth-defects to a statistical percentage more reflective of geographic areas of Vietnam not sprayed with the chemical, is not being done on a significant scale.
Warfare kills long after the shooting stops. It leaves physical (and mental) contaminates that can lead to human suffering for decades. It is rare for those countries that contributed significantly to creating such problems to help find solutions to the deadly remains.
Huong, 19 , is a musical student, whose father was exposed to Agent Orange during the war. "I wish someone could just examine me... to find out if I might have even a slight chance to see" said Thuong.