“I predict that traumatic brain injury is going to be the Agent Orange of this conflict.”

— Peter Chiarelli, recently retired Army general and vice chief of staff, discussing the “signature wound” of the Afghan and Iraq wars in an interview with Politico. Agent Orange was the dioxin-laced herbicide sprayed over southeast Asia during the Vietnam war to defoliate the jungle and make the enemy easier to find.

It has caused a multitude of ailments among more than 1 million Vietnamese and U.S. Vietnam vets, including cancer, nerve, digestive, skin and respiratory disorders. More than a half-million U.S. veterans have signed up with the Department of Veterans Affairs Agent Orange registry because they suspect they may have been contaminated by the spraying. A recent change in what conditions may be linked to Agent Orange exposure will cost the U.S. government an estimated $42 billion over a decade.

But to assess the true cost of Agent Orange, check out the comments appended to this story.

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