Agent Orange; "The Gift That Keeps On Giving"

At the rate that Vietnam Veterans are dying from Agent Orange related illnesses, the cynicism in the ranks of us who have those illnesses, is such, that one might say, the contract disputes will assist in reducing the cost of delivery as many more will simply be dead before their claims are completed.
If a veteran dies with a disability rating and a service connected illness, the spouse will then be eligible for benefits.  Add those costs to the treatment costs of the returning combatants, and you have an actuarial nightmare.
There have already been grave concerns about the delays in Agent Orange claims for the past 30 years. One of those speculative concerns is that the bean counters realize, the longer the delay the less the outlay. They never quite planned for the overwhelming number of veterans with AO issues to still be in the system this long.
Now in our 60’s, we are a tenacious lot, evidenced by the 1980’s movie with the late John Ritter, titled, “Unnatural Causes.” A must see for anyone familiar with the subject. It is a docu-drama based on the true story of a Veterans Benefits Counselor named, Maude DeVictor, who refused to quit.
One thing is for sure, the true cost of war,  in prolonged real time,including the Un-Declared ones is now a matter of increasing transparency.
Must we really trouble ourselves with  wondering why there is no money left over for jobs?  How sophomoric to even worry about the answer.
While we build and prop up nations across the globe, without the substantial financial  support of our Allies, we cannot build or prop up our own.
Tax cuts, schmax cuts! Red State, Blue State.  Second Amendment

Mortality Clock

rights and Mosque mania, are all distractions from the cost of war. And they are working!

Humpty Dumpty  never did join a political party. He is awaiting his claim to be completed from his fall.
In my view, we are in an Alice and Wonderland, upside down world, America is the disabled veteran and we are the leaders, even with our Agent Orange, Senator Simpson.
The following is for your information and distribution to your members.
John A Miterko
Veterans Advocate

VA abruptly issues second contract for Agent Orange claims system

BY BOB BREWIN 09/08/2010

The Veterans Affairs Department awarded IBM a contract in July to develop within three months a system to process claims for veterans suffering from diseases related to the Vietnam-era chemical Agent Orange. But last week officials inexplicably issued another contract searching for a second contractor to do the job in one-third the time, while the IBM contract remains in place.

VA needs the new system to process up to 240,000 claims for 15 illnesses determined to be the result of military personnel being exposed to Agent Orange, a defoliant sprayed on the jungles during the Vietnam War. VA presumes all personnel who served in Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange, and the 15 illnesses they might have are a result of coming into contact with the chemical.

According to VA, its policy of presuming the diseases are a result of exposure to the chemical will simplify the process for veterans receiving compensation because the department will forgo the normal process of requiring veterans to prove their illnesses began, or worsened, during their military service in Vietnam. Paying Agent Orange claims will cost the United States $13.4 billion.

Department officials decided this year to process the claims separate from the other systems the Veterans Benefits Administration uses. In March, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said he wanted to tap private sector skills to fast-track the development of the system. “This will be a new way of doing business and a major step forward in how we process the presumptive claims we expect to receive over the next two years,” he said at the time.

VA initially planned to award the contract in April, but delays pushed that move up to July. IBM eventually won the $9.1 million pact. The procurement calls for delivery of a production-ready prototype by October and full production by December.

VA asked IBM to develop a fully automated system and a machine-readable claims form that veterans can electronically download and, at their option, electronically submit.

Officials want the forms to be shorter than the current document, well-suited to an automated processing method, and they expect IBM to use commercial systems to the fullest extent possible. They also want employees and veterans to be able to access the system via the Web, with a separate data repository linked to existing departmental systems.

But on Sept. 3, officials quietly posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website a second procurement for the same processing system. The document was not accompanied by any public announcement. The new procurement includes roughly the samerequirements as the original contract, but a shortened delivery deadline.

VA wants the selected contractor to demonstrate the capability to electronically process claims within 15 days of the award and to provide a production-ready system 15 days later, a daunting task, according to one contractor who declined to be identified.

The system must be operational next month, and bidders must submit their proposals by Friday, only a week after the solicitation was issued, which are due Friday.

Harold Gracey, a consultant with Topside Consulting who served as chief of staff at VA from 1994 to 1998, said he assumed the department put out the second procurement as a backup plan in case IBM cannot deliver its system on time.

Gracey added VA could find a second contractor to meet its requirements, but bidders also have to recognize the negative publicity that would result if they fail to deliver. A source familiar with VA said he viewed the second source procurement as a poke at IBM to fulfill its requirements on time.

Veterans groups said whatever the reasons behind the second procurement they were worried the department might not be able to meet its deadlines. “VA’s unusual announcement for a second contract, without any details released to the public, raises significant concerns among veterans about VA’s transparency and VA’s ability to process Agent Orange claims in a timely and accurate manner,” said Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense. “We hope VA issues an explanation about this and puts to rest veterans’ concerns.”

VA officials did not reply to numerous requests from Nextgov to comment on the status of the IBM contract and did not respond to a query on why they issued a second procurement. IBM executives also did not reply to calls and e-mails about the status of the company’s contract.

God Bless
Jose M. Garcia
Past National Commander
Catholic War Veterans,USA
Better to understand a little than to misunderstand a lot.
In God We Trust

16 thoughts on “Agent Orange; "The Gift That Keeps On Giving"”

  1. Although your title “Agent Orange, The Gift That Keeps on Giving” is covered by my copyright under Federal law; because of the message of your article and the organization that you represent, I will waive your right to use it.  Please check the website or reach out to, to read a copy of the article I wrote directly upon my return from speaking at the International Tribunal on Agent Orange in May, 2009.

    1. Thank you for your kindness in the waiver. I never would have imagined this slogan being copyrighted, as we who have suffered from Agent Orange afflictions having been using that phrase amongst ourselves in a very colloquial fashion for easily 35 years!
      I will go immediately to your website now.

  2. Thanks to both Mike B and Rena K. for keeping the fires burning on this, and helping us all to keep an eye on what shell the pea is under in this this disgraceful attempt to triage victims onto ever longer waiting lists for care and compensation, hoping that they will die off before the details are resolved.  This not only effects all who served there and were exposed, but the Vietnamese people, themselves.  Mike;  now that you have found us, you are free to use whatever materials are posted at our humble site (, anytime in the future that you are speaking truth to power,  with attribution.   The important thing is getting the word out, and I appreciate your’s and Rena’s, and also Chuck Pallazo’s (who currently lives in Danang, and is our current AO Editor) effort in keeping the administration’s feet to the fire on this critical issue.

    1. Thanks again Willie.
      For the readers here at, the article by Rena Kopy is in the May 2009 archive at  “” Another good one is by Barry Romo in the publication, “Veteran,” at How quickly we forget the overwhelming number of Vietnamese whose lives were ravaged by Agent Orange. And they have no VA to go to for health care!

  3. I also never thought of that slogan being copyrighted after hearing it for so many years.. It’s like hearing “It’s a thing” whenever we did or saw some of the traumatic things we saw in Nam. It’s amazing how we look at trifle things rather than the big picture. The many Vietnam Veterans who are dying every day to Agent Orange, those that will die without passing anything to the wife, children, whoever, that are no longer around. “It’s a thing”. Peace my brothers, may you have a long life, hopefully without any new “Gifts”.

    1. Holy cow, batman… I have not heard that phrase for many moons.  I have been runnin’ around my house all day, saying, “its a thing,” man!  Sorta makes me feel young again. Its like time stopped at 19 for us, and we hear each others voices of both joy and lament, and “there it is.”  “Its a thing!”  Welcome Home.

  4. The “base camp commandos” angrily argue that they should have the same presumption rights with regard to disability compensation with regard to Agent Orange as men in the field who were, on a daily basis, exposed to Agent Orange . Those most routinely exposed, but not all, were mostly infantry, of course.  U.S. Senator Webb, a Vietnam War combat veteran, questions this assumption as illogical and unjust. So do I! Thank you Senator Webb. I served with the U.S. Army; 4th ID, 2/8th Inf.; RVN 1969-1970.

  5. Even though I was a grunt, I am also a retired Veteran Service Officer. Many of those “base camp” support troops were handling up to four times the amount dioxin as anyone in the bush. The 55 gallon drums were not always secure nor were the hazards of handling them fully communicated. Lots of Navy men on ships were equally exposed as were some Air Force personel in Thailand. It is pretty hard to determine what “routinely exposed’ means in real time.  Now the fariness is extended to all. No harm in that.

  6. Well said SantaCruzSam,
    One of the rationales behind Shinenski’s decision, was to not be biased to the grunt in the “tall grass.” Thousands, yes, thousands of our soldiers were exposed to AO in the Nam. God bless you downtown Compton, but you are dead wrong.

  7. Just checked the readership statistics of, and this BLOG.  We are holding on in the grand scheme of things.  Yet, I must declare, it is a pure sign of the times to reconcile with the fact that the most read posts are,  “Paranormal” and  “Sports.” Possibly, this statistic can be sold to demographers.
    Or, do they already know how dumbded down is America?

  8. I wonder Mr. Compton do gun grunts that served in arty rate the same treatment as base camp commandos you spoke of. Served in Marine Corp in artillery and we were at most fire bases with the grunts. Most places we did our own security thing on op’s and bird watch. Just curious because more than once the only reason you survived was the gun grunts. We had AO sprayed on us on a regular basis. The easiest way to defeat someone is divide and conquer. Webb understands this tactic very well and evidently you don’t. We all served in that damn war and should stand together. 

      1. Oh yeah, and I was 60 & 81 Mortars. We were at Base Camps, your camps, their camps, Charlies  camp and about 9 Operations.  The distinction between Base Camp and LP’s, (listening post) and ambushes  or some FO forays, ( I was an FO also) were of no distinction in the Marine Corps, as we were pretty damn united. Compton must be one of the other branches.
        And when you think of it, who gets penetrated and rocketed? The Base Camp! Like, “Charlie shoot here!”  I guess that is why they called the area outside of Da Nang the “Rocket Belt.”

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