From 1961 to 1971 the US government sprayed more than 21 million gallons of herbicides and defoliants over vast areas of southern and central Viet Nam, and to a lesser extent in Laos and Cambodia to destroy the Vietcong's forest cover and food supply. The most commonly used herbicide was called Agent Orange. Two-thirds of these chemicals were contaminated with TCDD – dioxin, a highly toxic substance linked to at least thirteen classes of cancers and several birth defects. In veterans and civilians exposed to Agent Orange, neural diseases and cancers manifest decades after exposure, while birth defects attributed to dioxin poisoning afflict their children and even grandchildren. The Last Ghost of War follows a class action suit against 32 American chemical companies. In an editorial, Newsday called it “a must see” and “a catalyst for a much needed conversation on Agent Orange… In the wider court of public opinion this film by the Gardner Documentary Group can be a powerful tool… Our advice: PBS should air it.”At Tu Du Hospital in Saigon, children in a special unit have enlarged heads or are missing limbs. Pham Thi Thuy Linh born without arms, writes with her feet. (above) Thirty-two years after the Vietnam War, she is among several million children whose parents were exposed to Agent Orange. You'll meet plaintiffs in a class action suit who seek justice and compensation. Now the deadly dioxin has worked its way into the food chain and, some argue, the gene pool, with tragic results. Vietnamese victims, their attorneys, scientists, activists, and a military historian take you to a new battlefield. The question is: What is a chemical weapon? And who should be held accountable in the wake of what is arguably the largest chemical warfare operation in American history? The Last Ghost of War is airing on PBS during the month of November.
Additional information on the film http://publicbroadcast.asianamericanmedia.org/on-pbs/2008/11/18/the-last-ghost-of-war-airs-on-pbs-november