The Rainbow Herbicides

Barrels%20of%20Agent%20Orange%20%28wikipedia%20commons%29Did you know during the Vietnam War the United States sprayed an estimated 20 million gallons of herbicide over South Vietnam, this military operation even had an official name, Operation Ranch Hand. The ranch handers motto was “Only you can prevent a forest”, and they were responsible for the destruction of 5 million acres of forest and 500,000 acres of crops.

Agent orange was the primary herbicide/defoliant used, manufactured primarily by Monsanto and Dow Chemicals. Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children were born with birth defects as a result of its use. The only reason the herbicide was called agent orange was because of the orange stripes painted on the barrel, it was actually part of a group of herbicides and defoliant known as the “rainbow herbicides”. The rainbow herbicides consisted of agents pink, green, purple, blue, white, orange, orange 2 and super-orange, these were commonly cut with jet fuel.

The programs would spray these herbicides over the forest to deprive the enemy of cover, they could defoliate an entire forest in 24 hours. Another goal was to induce “forced draft urbanization”, they would spray the crops of civilians with the intention of starving them and forcing them to move into the larger cities… This would also deprive the enemy of its food source…

In 1969 it was revealed to the public that agent orange was contaminated with a dioxin known as TCDD, and that the TCDD was causing many of the previously unexplained adverse health effects. TCDD has been described as “perhaps the most toxic molecule ever synthesized by man”.

A quick Google or Wikipedia search on any of these herbicides will produce thousands of pages on this subject, I pulled my facts and numbers from a few different places on the internet and they should not be taken as “fact”, I just don’t know for sure… Although they are probably inflated one way or another, these were consistently stated numbers.

Sorry I have been painting a lot lately, and therefore not much time to write… I was thinking about random things today and this popped into my head… Not so much an original work… More of a report or summary of my thoughts… With a few facts and a hijacked photo…

only you can prevent forests – chriscondello

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One thought on “The Rainbow Herbicides

  1. stephaniedearing says:

    Nice work, Chris. I wouldn’t mind if you explored how chemicals manufactured for war chemicals in WWI were turned into agricultural fertilizers!


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