Just by coincidence, the documentary “The People Vs. Agent Orange” that opened on March 6th in virtual theaters could have easily been released to coincide with International Women’s Day that is celebrated on March 8th. The film is a profile of two women who have dedicated their lives to terminating the use of a deadly chemical herbicide that cost the lives of both Americans and Vietnamese. You might rightly assume that the Americans were GI’s serving in Vietnam like Leo Cawley, an economist who hosted “Fearful Symmetry,” on WBAI-FM in the late 80s—the best program on a network that has lost its way. Leo died of complications from a bone-marrow transplant, the after-effects of being exposed to Agent Orange when he was a marine in Vietnam.
But you didn’t have to be in Vietnam to get sick or die from Agent Orange. Unbelievably, after its use was banned in 1971, it eventually sprayed by the millions of gallons in Western Oregon upon the soil that once held millions of trees. After they were cut down, Agent Orange was used to kill the weeds left behind as an aid to reforestation.