Agent Orange
    We chose Agent Orange as a topic because of its impact on the Vietnam War, an already very debatable topic. The first time I heard about Agent Orange was in 9th grade, watching a documentary on the Vietnam War on the History Channel. Its effects were devastating and the use of it was controversial, even during the war, so it came to us that this was the perfect subject to present.

    Of the numerous books, websites, and pamphlets we had read on Agent Orange, the interview with Paul Switala was by far the most helpful. It gave a first hand look at the entire Vietnam experience and especially the strategic use of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Being a Vietnam veteran, Paul was able to give us good, first hand accounts of how it was used, where it was used, and the effects it not only had on the Vietnamese people, but our own soldiers as well. Another valuable source was U-S-History website, which provided great information on the use of Agent Orange on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, one of the most strategic points of interest in the entire Vietnam conflict.

    Going into this project, we only knew what we had briefly seen on television, heard from friends, or learned in class. But the research process taught us a lot about Agent Orange, like how it was not only deadly to the Vietnamese people, but it also affected everyone who came into contact with it, even our own soldiers. How it was not developed to be a weapon of war, but actually had humble beginnings at Yale University. How it was used as a civilian herbicide long before it was used to help the effort in Vietnam. Most of all though, how the Vietnamese people are still feeling the effects of it today, how the soil and vegetation are still tainted, and how many health conditions arose from such a seemingly harmless herbicide.

    The use of Agent Orange in Vietnam relates to the theme Debate and Diplomacy: Successes, Failures, Consequences because it is perhaps the most debatable issue of the Vietnam War. The reader has to ask themselves, does the end justify the means? Should we have left without helping to clean up the Vietnamese ecosystem? Or Should we give benefits to those still effected by Agent Orange even though some say it is just part of the job of being a soldier? All of these questions and more are why the use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War was truly one of the most debatable events in history, riddled with successes, failures, and many, many consequences.