Thanks for everything, Dick and George.
Courtesy of reader Hell Kat, here’s a story from CNN today.
An extensive federal report released Monday concludes that roughly one
in four of the 697,000 U.S. veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War suffer
from Gulf War illness.
That illness is a condition now identified as the likely
consequence of exposure to toxic chemicals, including pesticides and a
drug administered to protect troops against nerve gas.
452-page report states that “scientific evidence leaves no question
that Gulf War illness is a real condition with real causes and serious
consequences for affected veterans.”
The report, compiled by a
panel of scientific experts and veterans serving on the congressionally
mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses,
fails to identify any cure for the malady.
It also notes that few veterans afflicted with Gulf War illness have recovered over time.
The report, titled “Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans,” was officially presented Monday to Secretary ofVeterans Affairs
James Peak. Noting that overall funding for research into Gulf War
illness has declined dramatically since 2001, it calls for a “renewed
federal research commitment” to “identify effective treatments for Gulf
War illness and address other priority Gulf War health issues.”
According to the report, Gulf War illness is a “complex of multiple
concurrent symptoms” that “typically includes persistent memory and
concentration problems, chronic headaches, widespread pain,
gastrointestinal problems, and other chronic abnormalities.”
The illness is identified as the consequence of multiple “biological alterations” affecting the brain and nervous system.
While it is sometimes difficult to issue a specific diagnosis of the
disease, it is, according to the report, no longer difficult to
identify a cause.
The report identifies two Gulf War
“neurotoxic” exposures that “are causally associated with Gulf War
illness.” The first is the ingestion of pyridostigmine bromide (PB)
pills, given to protect troops from effects of nerve agents. The second
is exposure to dangerous pesticides used during the conflict.
The report does not rule out other possible contributors to Gulf War
illness — including low-level exposure to nerve agents and close
proximity to oil well fires — though it fails to establish any clear
The report concludes there is no clear
linkage between the illness and a veteran’s exposure to factors such as
depleted uranium or an anthrax vaccine administered at the time.
This bit really stuck out to me:
overall funding for research into Gulf War
illness has declined dramatically since 2001
Hmm. Now what could have happened in 2001 that could have caused this? Let’s think really, really hard…
Here’s how shitty the Republican Party is: You can’t tell whether this funding cut was due to Bush Jr. and Dick Cheney wanting to hush up any problems from the first Iraq War (can’t have Daddy and Uncle Dick looking bad!), or just part and parcel of the usual Republican plan to cut every social service in existence and further fuck over everyone who’s not already rich. These motherfuckers make “support the troops” a cruel joke instead of a crappy slogan.
Shame on you, CNN, for not including information on who cut funding and when. I hate this passive-voice journalism crap. “Funding has declined.” Bullshit. Try this: People in the Bush administration cut funding for research into Gulf War Syndrome to the bone as soon as they took office. See that? Aren’t active verbs better?
I’m not saying that I know what Gulf War Syndrome is, or if there’s just one cause, or anything. But there are a lot of people who are sick and hurting, and we need to find out why and what to do for them. We’ve been dragging our feet for a long time on this one.