Connie Schultz, Journalist

 
 

“When the Vietnam Reporting Project first called, I’m embarrassed to say this, I said – ‘there’s a problem with Agent Orange in Vietnam, still?’”

Make Agent Orange History_dioxin_Vietnam_Connie Schultz_Aspen Roundtable

Connie Schultz participates in an Aspen Institute Agent Orange in Vietnam Program roundtable.

These are the words of Connie Schultz, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, nationally syndicated columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Creators Syndicate, and a regular essayist for Parade Magazine. She is not alone – millions of Americans do not realize that Agent Orange continues to cause severe hardship in Vietnam.

In October of 2010, Schultz traveled to Vietnam with the Vietnam Reporting Project to investigate the legacy of Agent Orange. The result – “Unfinished Business: Suffering and sickness in the endless wake of Agent Orange” – is a groundbreaking 8-page investigative report which weaves together the stories of American veterans, Vietnamese soldiers and the innocent children caught in the middle.

Like many Americans who grew up in the era of the war in Vietnam, Schultz considered the prospect of visiting the former enemy to be pretty frightening. “I grew up in a small town, Ashtabula Ohio. Our county lost 29 boys in that war,” she says, “It seemed to me at one point every third house had somebody serving… [But] I couldn’t let fear stop me from going. Like I’ve always told my kids, ‘act brave and the courage will come.’”

Far from the war-torn country she feared, Schultz found in Vietnam a spirit of resilience, forgiveness and even hope. The children in the Friendship Village, Schultz writes, are “surrounded by people who care for them, and who don’t avert their eyes at the site of them. Most importantly, they have one another.”

“Most Americans don’t know about this,” Schultz says. “It’s not their fault. I didn’t know about this and I consider myself to be pretty well informed.” It is this reality that motivates Schultz to keep telling these stories and seeking long-term solutions such as cleaning up the dioxin hot spots and expanding services to the disabled.

“I intend to talk about these hot spots until they’re cleaned up or I’m not drawing a breath,” Schultz says, “and I intend to live a long time!”

Please read and share Connie Schultz fantastic report – Unfinished Business: Suffering and sickness in the endless wake of Agent Orange.  It is a powerful story that takes the reader into the depths of the problem while showing this is a humanitarian concern we can do something about.

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Stephen Eddy
February 16, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Dear Connie,
I have been looking for someone to talk to about Agent Orange.I was in the 12th SOS in Vietnam. We sprayed Agent Orange,20 million gals. I knew nothing of Agent Orange until I returned to the states in 1971. I went to JR college and studied Ornamental Horticulture. Then I learned what Agent Orange was and the devestation we had caused by spraying it on people and crops and land. I have been fighting a losing battle for the last 40 years, but I dont intend to give up.I know more about Agent Orange than most people. Its a horrible sustance. I was not able to do much about it for 20 years because I was in the Air Force Health Study for Ranch Hands or members of the 12th SOS.(special operations squadron). We had to sign a waiver ,to participate in the study ,saying we would not bring any litagation against anyone who was involved with Agent Orange . But I just retired from my job and now have time to concentrate on such things. I want to bring up a class action suit in the name of the soldiers,their widows, their children,the vietnamese people,the australian soldiers,the people of New Zealand where Agent Orange was manufactured and anyone else I have forgotten. Against a large list of those responsible for the use,manufacture, and authorization of Agent Orange usage. The only two things I have to say are: LD-50 and adipose tissue.Just to show you how the ignorance still is alive and well- Last week I was turned for the third time trying to collect disability from VA. I went to a Veteran center to setup my appeal the Veteran rep,who was a retired marine, working with me. Said when the subject of Agent Orange came up quote:” Agent Orange was a harmless herbicide the kind you can use in your backyard at home.” Needless to say I will not be going back to her for help on my appeal. She is helping Vets with their claims and makes an ignorant statement like that, she has no clue. Its very scary because most dont know yet they are making decisions for people that deny them the care they need. I am aware of the case the Vietnamese people brought and the judge and his gang are another bunch of ignorant fools. Anyway If you would like to talk my PH:562-612-9626.
Thanks for caring, I will never forget the orphanages we visited in Vietnam during the war and seeing the children.The ones who didnt make it are in Gods hands but those who survived the bombing,napalm, and Agent Orange are in our hands.
Thanks Stephen Eddy