Weekday News Wrap: Thursday, August 9, 2012

by Jessica Dorsey


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    The last news item is encouraging however terribly belated such action happens to be. Younger readers perhaps need to be reminded, in the words of Marilyn B. Young, that “Korea and Vietnam were, so to speak, living laboratories for the development of new weapons,” which in this case included (thus was not limited to) white-phosphorous enhanced napalm, toxic defoliants, and varieties of nerve gas. In Indochina, the United States dropped 8 million tons of bombs,
    “with an explosive power equivalent to 640 Hiroshima-size bombs. Three million tons were dropped on Laos, exceeding the total for Germany and Japan by both the U.S. and Great Britain. For nine years, an average of one planeload of bombs fell on Laos every eight minutes. In addition, 150,000 acres of forest were destroyed through the chemical warfare known as defoliation. For South Vietnam, the figure is 19 million gallons of defoliant [and herbicides] dropped on an area comprising 20 percent of South Vietnam—some 6 million acres.” From Young’s essay in the volume she edited with Yuki Tanaka, Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History (New York: The New Press, 2009)
    Here’s a few relevant titles from my Vietnam War bibliography (available online at Ratio Juris):

    Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars. The Indochina Story: A Fully Documented Account. New York: Pantheon Books, 1970.

    Ellsberg, Daniel. Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. New York: Viking, 2002.

    Kiernan, Ben “The American Bombardment of Kampuchea, 1969-1973,” Vietnam Generation, 1, 1989 (Winter): 4-41.

    Neilands, J.B., et al. Harvest of Death: Chemical Warfare in Vietnam and Cambodia. New York: The Free Press, 1972.

    Shawcross, William.Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruction of Cambodia. rev. ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987.

    Wilcox, Fred A. Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2011.

    Wilcox, Fred A. Waiting for an Army to Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2nd ed., 2011.

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