Gulf War Syndrome

What they are suffering from is medically unexplained, but very real, we need to give it the attention it deserves - Dr. Bernard Rosof

Gulf War Syndrome

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With only 148 Americans officially killed in action and only 467 wounded, the Gulf War seemed to be a shining victory for our military and its leaders. However, this victory has cast a long, lingering shadow. Today we know that nearly 200,000 of our Gulf service men and women are suffering from a debilitating and sometimes deadly syndrome. The suffering our military personnel have endured from Gulf War syndrome is outrageous in and of itself; however, the US government’s decades-long denial that the illness even exists has compounded the problem tremendously.

Clearly there is a sadistic irony being played out. We asked brave Americans, whether in the reserve, National Guard, or enlisted troops, to serve in dangerous environments, including Afghanistan and Iraq. We exposed them to biological and chemical agents, experimental vaccines, and environmental toxins – ranging from the byproducts of air pollutants released from burning oil wells to depleted uranium (DU). After they are brought home, not only do they not receive adequate medical treatment, but the government even denies the existence of their very serious health conditions. As a result, many veterans have filed bankruptcy. Their conditions are not covered under any veteran program...

We did it to ourselves. Pesticides, PB, nerve gas released by destroying Iraqi facilities—all are cases of friendly fire. That may explain why government and military leaders have been so reluctant to acknowledge what happened, just as they tried to cover up Agent Orange after Vietnam. Certainly, the government should have been facing the problem honestly and doing research from the start to identify diagnostic tests and treatments...

In a 1994 interview I conducted with Paul Sullivan, one of the Gulf War vets profiled in Part 1 of this article, Sullivan shared with me the roadblocks he encountered trying to receive medical attention for his illness:

When you finally get into the VA system, what happens is, they’ll lose your records. I went to appointments, ended up waiting four, five additional hours for the doctor simply to find my medical records or the X-rays that they took two or three days earlier. When you do get an exam, the doctor will say, ‘I’ve got five minutes. Tell me your problem.’ Then they won’t record your symptoms. You hear stories about doctors where their stethoscopes were not even in their ears. You hear stories about soldiers going in there like me, with rashes and respiratory problems and the doctors not even writing it down. Then, even though we’re sick, they don’t do any tests. Lung function tests, sinus X-rays, chest X-rays – they weren’t doing any of that. Then for the few tests they did run, such as blood tests, in my case, they knew I had an immune deficiency – nobody ever looked at the results. …

Unfortunately for many veterans who get out of the service and don’t have any health insurance, the VA is our only option. And our only option has crashed and burned under the stress of so many hundreds of thousands of vets coming in and looking for help. Twenty-two years later, have things changed? Hardly. The appalling lack of quality and timely healthcare through the VA continues to be a major issue plagued by scandal and corruption...

The systemic deception, denial and corruption on the part of the US government has contributed immensely to the ongoing hardships faced by America’s bravest. A critical reexamination of how we care for those serving in the armed forces is long overdue. It’s time for us to demand an end to the unjust policies and politics that have kept our service men and women suffering and dying in silence and begin to institute comprehensive reform that places the health and wellbeing of our soldiers first.

Source: Dr. Gary Null, Excerpt from The Gulf War Syndrome: The US Government’s Conspiracy of Silence and Obstruction Against Gulf War Veterans, GlobalResearch.ca, February 26, 2016.

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Last Updated : Saturday, January 18, 2020