Updated June. 14, 2011 04:46
Steve House, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Korea, blasted Washington Sunday by saying, U.S. authorities are not making any efforts to resolve the defoliant issue in Korea.
House had said earlier that he buried defoliant in 1978 at Camp Carroll in the township of Waegwan in Chilgok County, North Gyeongsang Province.
In a phone interview with The Dong-A Ilbo Sunday, he said, If the Korean government needs my testimony to verify if Agent Orange remains buried at Camp Carroll, I will gladly visit Korea and cooperate in the investigation.
Dong-A: What did you say in the U.S. military investigation?
House: They asked what substance we buried at Camp Carroll and how we buried it. They also wanted to know how much we buried and from where it was brought in.
Dong-A: Do you intend to visit Korea to testify that you buried Agent Orange at Camp Carroll?
House: If the Korean government requests me to testify, I will gladly accept. I will disclose all the materials that I have.
Dong-A: U.S. media seems not to consider this as important news.
House: Only KPHO (Channel 5), a broadcaster in Phoenix, Arizona, reported on my comments and no other media outlet has picked it up. CNN or ABC has never mentioned this, either. I think the U.S. government is suppressing this report.
Dong-A: Do you have any message to convey to Koreans?
House: I would like to make a sincere apology for what the U.S. government did. I also would like Koreans to forgive me for what I did. I wish that my testimony will help the Korean people uncover the truth.
Dong-A: How do you feel after blowing the whistle?
House: I have regained peace of mind for the first time in 33 years (since I buried Agent Orange in 1978).
Dong-A: What situations are facing fellow U.S. Army veterans Robert Travis and Richard Cramer, who buried Agent Orange buried with you?
House: They were alarmed to see the enthusiastic response after the incident was made public. They will continue testifying, however. Apart from these two, two other former U.S. soldiers who served in Korea informed me that they will raise issue with this matter.
Dong-A: Why does the U.S. government not want to admit to the burial of Agent Orange?
House: The reason is an issue directly linked to compensation. Only 10 to 20 percent, or a fraction of the soldiers who developed illness due to their exposure to Agent Orange in Korea, receive compensation. If the remaining 80 to 90 percent are recognized as having suffered damage, the U.S. government will incur massive expenses.