The latest expansion, approved by Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in October, adds ischemic heart disease and Parkinsonís and will cost at least $42 billion over the next 10 years. The VA estimates 349,000 individuals are already receiving Agent Orange disability benefits and that number could soon reach 500,000 ó or one out of every four surviving Vietnam veterans by the VAís count.

As the costs rise, so do the questions about the science involved and the box Washington put itself in by failing to address Agent Orangeís impact more directly at the outset.

And because Vietnam service is still such a political minefield for American politicians, the most telling, often edgy debate is among
Im glad my father never had any of these problems after being in Vietnam.

The bill for Agent Orange comes due - David Rogers -