[Hpn] Stats on Gulf War Syndrome vets and their rate of death and disability

Thomas Cagle nh-adapt@juno.com
Sat, 05 Aug 2000 05:45:40 -0400


This is going to seem like it is off topic to homelessness. However
advocates that worked with Vietnam veterans will all too clearly see
paralels to precursors of their work.

It is also some more facts for why a Bush--Cheney ticket may have yet
more stuff to answer for than it wants to. Please redistribute widely.

Tom C


From: uudre@aol.com



A letter I sent to the New York Times Letters to the Editor page just
this 
morning:

To The Editor:

Dick Cheney served as Secretary of the Department of Defense under
President 
Bush from 1989 to 1993. During 1991, he helped formulate U.S. strategy in
the 
Gulf War.

In early 1991, Agent Orange Vietnam veterans finally got recognized by 
Congress in a long needed compensation bill. Cheney dragged his and his 
administration's heels on Agent Orange vet recognition for their 2 years
in 
power up to then.

It was also during Cheney's DOD watch that Persian Gulf War veterans
(within 
30 days of the start) began presenting with the serious symptoms later
named 
Gulf War Syndrome. Cheney dragged his heels on the needs of the sick vets

from this combat, too.

Without adequate research or fact collecting, Cheney's DOD publically
began 
connecting Gulf War Syndrome vets' debilitating symptoms to: old football

injuries, rashs like civilians have, poor dental care, male pattern
baldness 
and plain ole depression.

In that same year, 1991, the DOD buried early reporting by Czech troops
that 
troops were exposed to chemical agents. The DOD did not admit to seeing
this 
report in 1991 until the next administration.

VA physicians were prohibited from exploring the possibility of chemical
and 
biological agent exposure due to DOD denial that they were used. The
doctors 
did not feel safe enough in their positions to publicize that until the 
change in administrations.

Anthony Principi, #2 in the Veteran's Affairs Department and a Vietnam
vet 
himself, wanted to open a registry for Gulf War vets similar to the Agent

Orange vet registry to track future health problems. He was told no and
even 
chastised for puting the idea in a trackable memo. The VA's reasoning 
was 
that the DOD could not afford the number of Gulf vets who might register 
their medical needs.

The VA/DOD argument over what diagnostic code might apply to sick Gulf
vets 
began then behind closed doors.

In 1992, under Cheney, The DOD reported to Congress on the conduct of the
Pers
ian Gulf War. They reported that "In the beginning of the deployment, the

services were not adequately prepared to deal with the full range of CW 
(chemical warfare)/BW (biological warfare). There were limitations in
most 
area, including drug availability, protection, detection,
decontamination, 
prophylaxis, and therapy."

But, the DOD still would not admit that U.S. troops were actually exposed
to 
chemical and biological agents during the 1991 war.

Nick Roberts, from Phoenix, Alabama, a Gulf War Syndrome vet who has
since 
died of his symptoms, said that "...they kept feeding us this line of
bull 
that nothing was wrong with us."

By March 1994, an average of 1,000 Gulf War vets a month were signing up
on 
the Department of Veteran's Affairs hotline asking for needed medical
help 
for symptoms first experienced during or immediately after the 1991 Gulf
War.

It was also when many Americans learned, for the first time, that the
Bush 
administration had secretly and illegally supplied many of the chemical
and 
biological agents in Iraq's weapons arsenal before our war with them.

That revelation meant that, as a country, we may have contributed to the 
death and disability of thousands of our own troops.

Many political pundits share the belief that the fact of our own
contribution 
may have been at the heart of the Bush administration's snail-slow 
recognition of Gulf War Syndrome.

Using the most current statistics from the Department of Veterans'
Affairs:
696,628 U.S. troops served in the Gulf War between August 2, 1990 and
1991. 
All are considered "Gulf War Conflict" veterans by the VA.

575,978 (83%) of those were eligible for VA benefits.

263,000 (45%) of those sought medical care at VA facilities for Gulf War 
Syndrome symptoms.

Of the remaining 312,978 (575,978 less 263,000), 183,629 (32%) filed
claims 
for service-related medical disabilities.

Of those 183,629 disability claims, 136,031 (74%) were approved in whole
as 
total disability.19,976 have been approved for partial disability
payments.

Bottom Line:
At least 64% of all U.S. troops who served during the Persian Gulf War
were 
(and still are) at high risk of developing the symptoms and disabilities
of 
Gulf War Syndrome.

Here is what the Cheney/W. Bush Republican team have to answer for:
An estimated 9,600 veterans have died of their symptoms since their
Persian 
Gulf War service. The lack of speed in recognition and treatment; and the

Department of Defense not funding enough independent research during
Cheney's 
watch from 1989 to 1993 means that we will never have an accurate figure
for 
those veterans whose military service killed them once they returned to
their 
homes.

Rev. Rus Cooper-Dowda
uudre@aol.com
4582 34th Avenue North
St. Peterburg, Florida
33713
727-527-9764 or 7221

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