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Report to Congress: Gulf War syndrome is real

17 November, 2008

No, duh!  Twenty years later, just a few days after Veterans day, another group of U.S. military veterans are exonerated: they did not exaggerate their symptoms nor claim illnesses that were not real.

How many wars must be fought before the basic health needs of veterans are met, before they are not dismissed as neurotic, whinining, freeloaders looking for another handout?  As the niece of wounded veterans of WWII and the Korean war, as the sister and wife of two veterans of the Viet Nam War (each at a different time “in country”), I have witnessed their difficulties as they fought to recover from their experiences (and severe wounds in my brother’s case) while being denied the slightest respect (and treatment) for their sacrifice to our country.  Whether you believe that war was justified or not is immaterial: They were called, they served.  We owe them, at the very least, the medical care they need and a willingness to listen when they explain their suffering and to respond with every possible means necessary to alleviate that suffering.  Twenty years is far too long to wait before you hear someone say, “Oh, you were right, you did suffer some form of injury…”

Now, young people return from Iraq with complaints that fall on deaf ears.  Will they have to wait twenty years also?  If they survive that long.  Disgusting!

_________________



A scientific panel chartered by Congress cites nerve gas drug and pesticides used during the conflict as being associated with veterans’ neurological problems.

By Mary Engel and Thomas H. Maugh II
8:00 AM PST, November 17, 2008
Contradicting nearly two decades of government denials, a congressionally mandated scientific panel has concluded that Gulf War syndrome is real and still afflicts nearly a quarter of the 700,000 U.S. troops who served in the 1991 conflict.The report cited two chemical exposures consistently associated with the disorder: the drug pyridostigmine bromide, given to troops to protect against nerve gas, and pesticides that were widely used — and often overused — to protect against sand flies and other pests.
“The extensive body of scientific research now available consistently indicates that Gulf War illness is real, that it is a result of neurotoxic exposures during Gulf War deployment, and that few veterans have recovered or substantially improved with time,” according to the report presented today to Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Peake.The report vindicates hundreds of thousands of U.S. and allied veterans who have been reporting a variety of neurological problems — even as the government maintained that their symptoms were largely due to stress or other unknown causes.

“Recognition of the full extent of the illnesses suffered by these veterans of the conflict and the obligation owed them is long overdue,” said Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord David Craig, chief of the British defense staff during the war. “They are victims of the war as much as anyone struck by a bullet or shell.”

read the rest of the story here:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-gulfwar18-2008nov18,0,7557540.story

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. 22 November, 2008 21:15

    Yes, it Real and today I and other suffer the chronic Multisympthom Undiagnosed Illness. We suffer from Invisible disabilities. The Public has a hard time understanding how our symptoms such as extreme fatigue, pain, dizziness and cognitive impairments can be debilitating. So please contact this agency and tell them http://www.va.gov/gulfwaradvisorycommittee

    VA – Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans
    Department of Veterans Affairs
    Office of Policy and Planning (008A1)
    810 Vermont Ave, Washington, DC 20420

    202-461-5758 Lelia P. Jackson, Policy Analyst ,lelia.jackson@va.gov

  2. 22 November, 2008 21:15

    Venus: I sent an email to Ms. Jackson. Here is a copy; if I get a reply I will post it here. I will post you information elsewhere as well.
    ________________

    Perhaps, as a Policy Advisor” you can respond to this request for information. If not, would you pass it on to someone who can and let me know who that someone is? Thank you.
    __________________________

    Now that a “scientific panel” has determined that the Gulf War Syndrome does in fact exist (twenty years too late, in my opinion), I ask what will the U.S. government, specifically Veterans Affairs, do for those who suffer from its debilitating symptoms? An admission that veterans were right when they claimed illness and symptoms is a good start. But the question now remains whether there will be treatment, compensation for those who have been unable to work, counseling for those who have suffered not only from the physical difficulties but from the stigma of weakness or failure applied by those who did not believe them?

    $60 million for research may help the researchers financially and may even eventually find a “cure,” but in the meantime something needs to be done for the vets.

    If you will send an honest answer to this question, I will happily post it to my blog at catsden.wordpress.com, where an initial article by me has received at least one plea for assistance.

    Here is the link to my post: https://catsden.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/report-to-congress-gulf-war-syndrome-is-real/#comment-31

    Thank you in advance for your response.

    cats

  3. GEORGE KALOUSIS permalink
    23 November, 2008 21:15

    I SERVED IN KOREA FROM 1952 1953, WE USED PESTICIDES TO GUARD AGAINS FLEAS AN OTHER MITS WE ALSO DIPPED OUR CLOTHING IN A LIQUID THAT ATE MY PEN , IN MY JACKET POCKET WHEN I SWEATED. COULD ANY OF THESE CHEMICALS CAUSE CANCER I HAVE HAD LUNG CANCER

    GEORGE KALOUSIS
    913 FLORAL AVE
    UNION NJ
    908 354 6968

  4. 23 November, 2008 21:15

    Mr. Kalousis:

    I am no expert in the use of chemicals by the Armed Services, except that I know there has always been experimental chemicals and drugs. You would probably have to ask your local VA doctor, if you have one, or ask to see one if you do not. The VA has always been remiss in its response to vets. I am sorry about the cancer – if you have been a smoker they might blame it on that. Try anyway.

    And thank you for your service.

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