America’s soldiers have been subject to some horrible working conditions throughout the year. Sometimes these exposures are avoidable, while some come with the territory and environment.
American Legion Director of Media and Communications Jeff Stoffer told the story of a modern day Agent Orange, another about the effects of the U.S. dependency on China for medication and an operation that could have been the most deadly ever on AWF Union Podcast.
Toxic exposure at K2
Following the events of September 11, 2001, some 15,000 soldiers were sent to the K2 air force base in Uzbekistan.
Stoffer said it would later be discovered that the soil at the former Soviet base was contaminated with jet fuel, hydraulic fluid and other waste. Sludge would ooze from the ground, but the soldiers continued to use it to build berms and more.
Many soldiers returned and experienced horrific illness, cancer and even death. Since the base was a secret, the U.S. government did not acknowledge the soldiers’ illnesses as being service related, leaving them with no compensation.
Medicinal reliance on China
Stoffer introduced a second article, which dives into the American reliance on China for pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies.
He said the Chinese pay much lower wages, allowing American companies to get the medicine and supplies for a much lower rate. This has resulted in American manufacturers to close shop due to the inability to compete.
The article also accuses Chinese manufacturers of lying about what is in their drugs. They sometimes substitute properties in order to produce the drug for a cheaper rate, while turning a much larger profit. The consequences of this result in allergic reaction, sickness and sometimes death.
Finally, Stoffer discussed the story of Operation Downfall. This operation was planned as a two-step invasion of the Japanese mainland in an effort to end World War II.
The story discusses the two sides of the war, from the perspective of a Japanese civilian and a young American soldier who would later cross paths.