Bob Edgar, a congressman at the end of the Vietnam War turned President and CEO of a US citizen lobbying group called Common Cause, said "War doesn't end when the last soldier leaves" and "It's time to take part in a humanitarian effort to help the people still suffering (from Agent Orange effects) in Vietnam".

Edgar made his comments at San Francisco State University's Commonwealth Club, which, last weekend, hosted an hour-long discussion titled "Addressing the Legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam".

Participants to the discussion were told that Edgar had pushed legislation to help veterans impacted by Agent Orange and now, his focus is on the people of Vietnam.

He said he went to Vietnam as part of a humanitarian effort last year, and would be going again in March. The reason to keep going back to Vietnam, Edgar explained, is for people to see firsthand the beauty of a people and land struggling to recover from the devastation of war -- and perhaps take some action.

He told the crowd at the Commonwealth Club several times: "We have been waiting for."

In the same vein, "The Old Gold & Black" - Wake Forest University's newspaper - in its Feb 28 issue wrote: "It is important that the world understands the effects of this harmful chemical (Agent Orange) and unites behind the people of Vietnam. It is possible to eliminate the problems associated with Agent Orange; however, it is only possible if the global community pays attention and takes action."

In an article entitled "Agent Orange effects linger in Vietnam", "The Old Gold & Black" newspaper said: "Some 35 years later, the effects of this chemical are still evident in Vietnam, as children are born with birth defects and families are ripped apart at the seams" and that: "The war may be over, but the conversation cannot end" as "war has unintended and unpredictable consequences."
"The Vietnamese people are a resilient culture and they will fight to overcome whatever obstacles they may face. Families are uniting together in order to overcome the effects of Agent Orange. Vietnam is a country of great hope with a bright future," the paper said, stressing that if the world was willing to pay attention, the past could finally be eliminated and Vietnam could begin to move forward in the 21st century.

According to the paper, organizations such as the Ford Foundation, Common Cause, Children of Vietnam and others have acknowledged the continuing effects of Agent Orange in the communities of Vietnam.

Members of those organizations are joining Ford Foundation's Special Initiative on Agent Orange/Dioxin which aims to raise 30 million USD each year over the next decade to clean contaminated Agent Orange hot spots and provide health services for families and children affected by Agent Orange.

The paper continued: "Even the United States government has pledged some 24 million USD to help clean up hot spots across Vietnam. However, a handful of non-profit organizations cannot completely eliminate the hardships brought on by the actions of the United States over three decades ago."

It stressed: "If there is to be a future Vietnam that is not riddled by the effects of Agent Orange, global action is required."

In the framework of Ford's Special Initiative on Agent Orange/Dioxin, many events were held across the US in the past two weeks including a panel discussion at the University of North Carolina on Feb 16, a discussion at Wake Forest University, both in North Carolina state, and a discussion on Feb. 25 at San Francisco State University in California state, all under the theme of effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

At the above-said events, Charles Bailey, Director of Ford Foundation's Special Initiative on Agent Orange/Dioxin, said that helping Vietnam deal with the legacy of Agent Orange "is a humanitarian issue, and we can do something about it"./.