LAFF Society


New Book on Impact of Agent Orange in Vietnam


A new book on the lingering effects of the use of Agent Orange/dioxin during the Vietnam war, co-written by Charles Bailey, a former Ford Foundation representative in that country, explores “current scientific understandings of the chemical and…the promising solutions to addressing the consequences of its use”.
From Enemies to Partners: Vietnam, the U.S. and Agent Orange has been described by the authors, Bailey and Le Ke Son, who led the Vietnam government’s efforts to deal with the legacy of the chemical, as a result of their studies of the historical era when the two countries were making the painful and difficult transition from enemies to partners in trying to resolve the impact of Agent Orange on human health and the environment.
The authors, as described by the publisher, G. Anton, “outline the moral reasoning for a fuller American response and present further steps the United States and Vietnam can each take in a joint humanitarian initiative to resolve the legacy of Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam.
“They address the critical issues of whether dioxin pollution still exists in Vietnam, what needs to be done to finish the job of cleanup, how many victims of Agent Orange carry out their lives today and the impact of Agent Orange on relations between the United States and Vietnam.”
Bailey worked at Ford from 1972 to 1976 and again from 1982 to 2011 in several overseas offices, including Hanoi from 1997 to 2007. He led the Foundation’s study of Agent Orange while in New York and moved with it to the Aspen Institute in 2011.
(An article by Bailey, “Agent Orange: Looking Forward”, detailing his work with the Aspen study, appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of the newsletter.)
He and Le Ke Son met in Hanoi in 2006 and collaborated over the next several years on work that led to the book, drawing on “their firsthand experiences with Agent Orange and its legacy accumulated over the last two decades. They also interviewed nearly 40 other Americans and Vietnamese to unearth their insights on what has happened and the way ahead”.
One of the early reviewers, Edwin A. Martini, whose own studies on Agent Orange led to the book, Agent Orange: History, Science and the Politics of Uncertainty, wrote, “This is exactly the book that is needed to advance the conversations surrounding Agent Orange, dioxin and the legacies of the American war in Vietnam….This book should be read by leaders, policy makers and all students of wars and their legacies.” 



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