Agent Orange accuser offers to testify in KoreaBy Andy Jackson Jun 14, 2011 10:45PM UTC
An American army veteran who claimed to have buried several hundred drums of Agent Orange at an American military base in Korea, said that he is willing to travel to Korea to testify to the Korean government.
Steve House made headlines in Korea several weeks ago when he claimed to an American TV station that he and several other soldiers had buried up to 250 drums of Agent Orange under a heliport in Camp Carroll, an American military base near Daegu in southeastern Korea. Other veterans corroborated Houses claims and a joint US-South Korean investigation is under way.
In an interview with the DongA Daily, one of South Korea’s leading newspapers, House said that he is ready to go to Korea to testify:
If the Korean government requests me to testify, I will gladly accept. I will disclose all the materials that I have.
Since House has already laid out his claim and Korean officials are already investigating inside the American facility, little would be gained from the South Korean government flying House over and housing him in the country. It would be much more efficient to simply send an official from the Korean Consulate in Los Angeles to question him.
When asked if he had a message for the Korean people, House said that he wanted to make a “sincere apology for what the U.S. government did”, and that he would “like Koreans to forgive me for what I did.”
In a separate interview with the American TV station that broke the story, House says that he wants the US government to right the wrong he helped commit:
I’ve wanted the government to take care of this nightmare I’ve had to live with for the last 30 years. I don’t want to poison kids or anything, and I don’t want to hurt GIs.
However, as House noted in the DongA Daily interview, there is another motivation: getting the US government to pay compensation claims to soldiers who served in Korea. He claims that the number of soldiers affected by Agent Orange is five to ten times greater than the government admits. If the investigation corroborates House’s allegation, that would greatly improve the chance that soldiers who served at Camp Carrol could win compensation claims from the government.