Dow Chemical, Monsanto and The Charge of the Light Brigade

The bad news, and it’s not really news, is the effects of Agent Orange, might also show up via Parkinson’s disease, B cell leukemia, and coronary heart disease.

The good news, such as it is, is Viet Nam veterans will be eligible for disability compensation and VA medical care. And not have to waste whatever time is left filling our forms and learning to speak pidgin Bureaucratese.

Sort of like having the picture window in your house kicked out and then told you can enjoy a better view.

Thank you, Monsanto, and thank you, Dow Chemical, for making great profits poisoning the boys you sent to Viet Nam.

Gotta love this line from Dow’s PR department:

Dow is a diversified chemical company that combines the power of science and technology with the “Human Element” to constantly improve what is essential to human progress. (Their emphasis, not mine.)

Unless the human element is death, I’m confused.

Not to be outdone, the other moneychangers in the temple, Monsanto, says:

Monsanto is an agricultural company. We apply innovation and technology to help farmers around the world produce more while conserving more. We help farmers grow yield sustainably so they can be successful, produce healthier foods, better animal feeds and more fiber, while also reducing agriculture’s impact on our environment.

Would it surprise you if Dow/Monsanto’s long-range planning includes making and selling biodegradable grave markers that improve the soil?

While both companies value shareholder returns far, far more than human life, it should be added that a number of Administrations dangled the loot in front of the war profiteers, so there is plenty of blame to go around.

Big deal. Blame is pretty much worthless — sort of like piasters — and doesn’t do a damn thing for the brave men and women who accepted orders and carried out their missions.

Reminds me of, “Charge of the Light Brigade,” except the Light Brigade memorialized by Tennyson, was over in a single day.

Back to the present. A new VA rule takes effect soon will accept requests for compensation and approve them based only on having been in Viet Nam. The widows of veterans killed by Agent Orange will be eligible for retroactive benefits.

Too little, too late. More information (and less vitriol) can be had at,15240,208380,00.html?

Words of Wisdom

Before leaving to join the 198th Light Infantry Brigade in Viet Nam, I talked with my godfather, Bob Zelina. Uncle Bob had been a tanker in The Good One and gave the most succinct and best advice: “If you get a chance to drink a cold beer, kid, drink it.”

He knew far better than I that war is a game of deadly chance and that waking up in the morning doesn’t guarantee you’ll be breathing by day’s end.