United States News and Entertainment Media and US Congress: 1991 Gulf War Illnesses and Suffering Veterans
This petition had 432 supporters
Year 2007 Quote: "This government manipulation of science and violation of law to devalue the health problems of ill veterans is something I would not have believed possible in the United States of America until I took this job. Until this practice is stopped, the products of Gulf War illnesses research will be distorted, misleading the Secretary, Congress, veterans’ doctors, and the scientific community."[Mr. James Binn, Committee Chair, Congressionally chartered Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illness (RAC), Vietnam veteran, Harvard Law graduate, 13;1a]
Year 2013 Quote: "He (SIC: Dr. Coughlin) told the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on March 13 (SIC: 2013) that millions of dollars are invested in veterans’ heath studies each year, yet “if the studies produce results that do not support [OPH’s] unwritten policy, they do not release them.” And “on the rare occasions when embarrassing study results are released, data are manipulated to make them unintelligible."[Dr. Coughlin, Veterans Affairs Whistleblower; 1b]
This petition is designed to get the attention of the United States media. The more people that support this 1991 Gulf War Illness petition, the more likely the media will report on 1991 Gulf War Illnesses. In other words, I hope to use this petition as a marketing tool for media support. I believe it is possible that major petition support will translate to readership, viewership, or similar. I opine that such media reports will eventually lead to action by the United States government.
Post 9/11 Veterans
Although environmental exposures might be different, veterans of post 9/11 wars have shown symptoms of multisymptom illness as well. We cannot forget the suffer of any war. With that said, I concentrate on 1991 Gulf War veterans and some of their exposures in this petition.
1991 Environmental Exposures: Experimental Medication; Chemical Weapons; Overuse of Pesticides, etc
Interestingly, many US citizens do not know that chemical weapons were released during the 1991 Gulf War[see quotes, 9; 9a - 9d]. As an example, sarin and cyclosarin[see quotes, 9; 9a - 9d], which have a similar mechanism of action to organophosphates, were released from Khamisiyah and chemical weapon manufacturing plants[9b] . Also, many do not know that such chemicals cause permanent medical and psychological problems[see quotes, 9a; 9c - 9d, 14, 15, 16]. As a final point, many US citizens do not know that experimental medication, pyridostigmine bromide as an example, was forced on 1991 Gulf War veterans. Research has shown that such experimental medication is connected to the ills faced by 1991 Gulf War veterans[see quotes]. Also, some researchers question the effect of multiple vaccinations and Gulf War Illness. We cannot forget the sufferers of any war.
Example of Illnesses
Over 250,000 1991 Gulf War veterans have documented medical and psychological ills[see quotes]. Many 1991 Gulf War veterans have severe psychological and medical problems. Some are completely disabled, but their severe disability has not been recognized by the US Veterans Affairs due to financial decisions, lack of training, and a mentality that is held in the era of 1991 when the US Government denied 1991 Gulf War Illnesses existed[see following quotes]. For example, some 1991 Gulf War veterans have psychological problems that have been listed as schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar, paranoid delusional disorder, severe combat post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), which, when severe, presents similarly to schizophrenia, etc. In fact, some have been labeled with all. Also, many have neurological or multisymptom problems. 1991 Gulf War Illness causes chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, functional gastrointestinal disorders, and "undiagnosed illnesses", which include psychological, neurological disorders, and other[Veteran Affairs, 10]. As an example of severity, the reader should know that schizophrenia alone has been labeled as the most debilitating mental Illness known by the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Most schizophrenics do not work. Although "schizophrenia" has not been directly connected to 1991 Gulf War Illness by the National Academies Institute of Medicine (IOM), the law, regulations, and US Veterans Affairs use the general terminology of "psychological". In addition, National Academies Institute of Medicine (IOM) does list General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which is often a precursor to schizophrenic precipitation. Also, Dr. Meggs of Congressionally chartered Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses (RAC), Dr. Sullivan, and other eminent researchers are investigating the relationship between brain inflammation and 1991 Gulf War Illness[18; 18a]. Brain Inflammation has been implicated in the symptoms of some schizophrenics as well. Finally, the latter medical problems are actually listed in the law, Title 38 United States Code. As previously mentioned, the law also mentions neuropsychological. Furthermore, the law mentions chemical weapons and 1991 Gulf War. Some potential causes of the latter medical and psychological problems are mentioned in references and quotes. Please realize the quotes and references are not all-inclusive. As an example, research results were released during November 2012 which indicated that Autonomic dysfunction, "nerve death", appears to be the cause of many problems among 1991 Gulf War veterans. Also, a meta-analysis released during December 2012 has shown that low-level exposure to organophosphates can cause brain death. In the past, the National Academies Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported about psychiatric problems and correlation to organophosphates. 1991 Gulf War veterans were exposed to low-dose chemicals weapons[see quotes, 9;11] and overuse of pesticides. Also, the Congressionally chartered Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses (RAC) has reported structural brain changes in 1991 Gulf War veterans[see quotes].
Illness Impact and Veterans Affairs Research
When considering education, a 1991 Gulf War veteran might have earned degrees in chemical engineering, biological sciences, combined, or other but their career has been ruined by the 1991 Gulf War illness. Sadly, ill 1991 Gulf War veterans are being ignored by the Department of Veteran Affairs medical community. Also, Title 38 United States Code exists but some entrenched bureaucrats at Department of Veterans Affair (VA) are not doing their job[1-4]. In fact, the VA has cut research by 2/3. 1991 Gulf War veterans need the US Media and US Congress to hold the Department of Veterans Affairs responsible. Ill 1991 Gulf War veterans deserve disability too. Because of their ills, many cannot work and might be on a route to homelessness. Sadly, many 1991 Gulf War veterans might not be awarded disability even though they sacrificed much for our great Country, United States of America. Below, many quotes and references from the National Academies Institute of Medicine (IOM) and Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illness (RAC) provide a glimpse into 1991 Gulf War veterans problems and struggles. A recent document, "Hearing on Veterans' Military Records", released by 1991 Gulf War Veterans Advocates and submitted to US House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs for the Hearing on Veterans' Military Records, December 4, 2012 also provides details about other struggles faced by 1991 Gulf War veterans.
Please support this petition so that we can get the attention of the US Media and US Congress. Yes, laws exist but the laws are useless if not enforced. Also, Department of Veterans Affairs can do a better job of taking care of all veterans.
From the US Veterans Affairs website:
"…to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan…"- Abraham Lincoln; March 4, 1865
"We are dealing with veterans, not procedures – with their problems, not ours."- Omar Bradley; 1947
Although the second quote, see below, suggests immediate debilitation, it is only used to provide an example of extremes. 1991 Gulf War Illness can be progressive as well. The National Academies Institute of Medicine (IOM) and Congressionally chartered Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses (RAC) believe genetics are a likely factor in 1991 Gulf War Illness. For some, the medical conditions have been present since 1991 but have become progressively worse and debilitating. As such, please do not believe "all" sufferers of 1991 Gulf War veterans' illness presented as the second quote. Many veterans have become progressively worse since the year of 1991. In fact, presumptions exist in the law at an extended date, December 31 of 2016, for this reason. A 1991 Gulf War veteran can develop symptoms currently.
National Academies Institute of Medicine (IOM) and Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses (RAC) Quotes:
• "This government manipulation of science and violation of law to devalue the health problems of ill veterans is something I would not have believed possible in the United States of America until I took this job. Until this practice is stopped, the products of Gulf War illnesses research will be distorted, misleading the Secretary, Congress, veterans’ doctors, and the scientific community."[Mr. James Binn, Committee Chair, Congressionally chartered Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illness (RAC), 13]
• "While commanding an artillery battalion during Gulf War 1, one of my soldiers suddenly became quite ill. Despite the best efforts of our medical team, they could not diagnose what made him so sick. Out of 800 soldiers under my command, no one else was that sick. Now here we are, almost 20 years later and this Veteran is still suffering – and has been since the war. I have watched him when he could barely stand up, couldn’t cross the room on his own, his legs were so weak. He has been in and out of hospitals many times, seen by some of the best doctors and yet there is still no explanation for his debilitating illness, and this Veteran is not alone."[Veterans Affairs, 12]
• "During those years, scientific evidence has conclusively demonstrated, as stated by IOM, that Gulf War multisymptom illness is a “diagnostic entity” “associat[ed] with deployment to the Gulf War” that “cannot be reliably ascribed to any known psychiatric disorder” and affects “more than 250,000 US Gulf War veterans.”[RAC, 2]
• "In the Veterans Benefits Act of 2010, Congress directed VA to enter into an agreement with the Institute of Medicine “to carry out a comprehensive review of the best treatments for chronic multisymptom illness in Persian Gulf War veterans.”
-“[U]nder [this] agreement, the Institute of Medicine shall convene a group of medical professionals who are experienced in treating individuals who served as members of the Armed Forces in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations of the Persian Gulf War during 1990 or 1991 and who have been diagnosed with chronic multisymptom illness or another health condition related to chemical and environmental exposure that may have occurred during such service.” (Public Law 111-275)"[RAC, 2]
• "VA’s Gulf War research program is characterized in the VA annual research report (“State of VA Research 2012: Improving Veterans’ Lives”) as “investigating whether service in the Gulf War is linked to illnesses Gulf War veterans have experienced.” The scientific literature, this Committee, and the IOM have long ago concluded that it is. Other VA research programs are characterized in the annual report in terms of solving veterans’ health problems, not investigating whether service-related problems exist. This same language is used to characterize the Gulf War research program on the VA Office of Public Health website. These are no mere words of an aberrant copywriter. They are an articulation of the philosophy that is exhibited throughout these examples. [Appendix G]"[RAC, 2]
• "These actions repeat the pattern of the last twenty-one years, as has been documented in Congressional reports over this period. (See, for example, “Gulf War Veterans Illnesses: VA, DOD Continue To Resist Strong Evidence Linking Toxic Causes To Chronic Health Effects,” Nov.1997) [Appendix H]."[RAC, 2]
• "Given the current state of scientific knowledge, they are particularly stark today: the refusal to implement the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine, the policy of the Secretary, and the law; the misrepresentation of scientific knowledge regarding Gulf War veterans’ health and of the effort being made to address it; the failure to acknowledge that the central health problem of this war even exists."[RAC, 2]
• "The Research Advisory Committee has no confidence in the ability or demonstrated intention of VA staff to formulate and execute an effective VA Gulf War illness research program. Staff includes the Office of Research and Development, the Office of Public Health, and personnel from the DoD Office of Force Health Protection and Readiness who interface with them on this subject. The Committee recognizes the credible work conducted by many individual VA researchers, and the positive intentions of some staff members, but they are not the ones calling the shots."[RAC, 2]
• "The VA Gulf War research budget has been cut by two-thirds for FY2013, from $15.0 to $4.86 million. Of the $15.0 million budgeted and approved by the Secretary and Congress for FY2012, only $4.98 million was spent. The two thirds cut was never discussed with the Research Advisory Committee, established by Congress to provide independent advice to the Secretary on proposed Gulf War health research plans [Appendix A]."[RAC, 2]
• "VA research officials continue to misrepresent to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and to Congress, in the Annual Report(s) To Congress, the level of research dollars spent addressing the health of Gulf War veterans. The true figures are vastly overstated by the inclusion of funds spent on studies that have little or nothing to do with Gulf War veterans. [Appendix C]."[RAC, 2]
• "The Committee recommends that the failures and obstructive actions outlined above be thoroughly investigated to identify the individuals responsible and that appropriate actions be taken to remove them from positions of authority and influence over Gulf War illness research. Until this occurs, we see no prospects for meaningful progress in VA Gulf War illness research."[RAC, 2]
• "After the war, there was the potential for other exposures, including US demolition of a munitions storage complex at Khamisiyah, Iraq, which—unbeknownst to demolition troops at the time—contained stores of sarin and cyclosarin."[IOM, 4]
• "Evidence strongly and consistently indicates that two Gulf War neurotoxic exposures are causally associated with Gulf War illness: 1) use of pyridostigmine bromide (PB) pills, given to protect troops from effects of nerve agents, and 2) pesticide use during deployment. Evidence includes the consistent association of Gulf War illness with PB and pesticides across studies of Gulf War veterans, identified dose-response effects, and research findings in other populations and in animal models."[RAC, 5]
• "Gulf War illness is associated with diverse biological alterations that most prominently affect the brain and nervous system. Research findings in veterans with Gulf War illness include significant differences in brain structure and function, autonomic nervous system function, neuroendocrine and immune measures, and measures associated with vulnerability to neurotoxic chemicals. There is little evidence of peripheral neuropathies in Gulf War veterans."[RAC, 5]
• "Unfortunately, symptoms that cannot be easily quantified are sometimes incorrectly dismissed as insignificant and receive inadequate attention and funding by the medical and scientific establishment. Veterans who continue to suffer from these symptoms deserve the very best that modern science and medicine can offer to speed the development of effective treatments, cures, and --we hope--prevention. Our report suggests a path forward to accomplish this goal, and we believe that through a concerted national effort and rigorous scientific input, answers can be found."[IOM, 3]
• "These alterations are the latest example of the “don’t look, don’t find” approach that has driven so much Gulf War research for two decades, focusing research on the wrong subjects, and producing limited or misleading findings."[RAC, 2]
[1a] US House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Witness Testimony of Mr. James Binns, Reasearch Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illneses, US Department of Veterans Affairs, July 2007. veterans.house.gov[online]. 2012. Available from: http://veterans.house.gov/witness-testimony/mr-james-binns
[1b] Vlahos, Kelley. VA Whistleblower Ignites Firestorm Over Vets' Illnesses. Epidemiologist says VA hid and manipulated data regarding burn pits and Gulf War syndrome, May 10, 2013. theamericanconservative.com[online]. 2013. Available from: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/va-whistleblower-ignites-firestorm-over-vets-illnesses/
 Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses. Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses Findings and Recommendation, June 2012. va.gov[online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.va.gov/RAC-GWVI/docs/Committee_Documents/CommitteeDocJune2012.pdf
 National Academies.News.Gulf War Service Linked to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Multisymptom Illness, Health Problems, But Causes Unclear. nationalacademies.org[online].April 2010. Available from: http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=12835
 National Academies Press. Institute of Medicine. Committee on Gulf War and Health: Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War, Update 2009. Board on Health of Select Populations. Gulf War and Health, Volume 8. nap.edu[online]. 2010. pp. 320. Available from: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12835 ISBN-10: 0-309-14921-5; ISBN-13: 978-0-309-14921-1
 Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses. Gulf War Illness and Health of Gulf War Veterans. Scientific Findings and Recommendations, 2008. va.gov[online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.va.gov/RAC-GWVI/docs/Committee_Documents/GWIandHealthofGWVeterans_RAC-GWVIReport_2008.pdf
 U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual-Use Exports to Iraq and Their Possible Impact on the Health Consequences of the Persian Gulf War. gulflink.osd.mil[online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/medsearch/FocusAreas/riegle_report/report/report_toc.htm
 Golumb, Beatrice Alexandra. A Review of the Scientific Literature As It Pertains to Gulf War Illness. Volume 2: Pyridostigmine Bromide. gulflink.osd.mil[online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/library/randrep/pb_paper/index.html
 GulfLink. Case Narrative. US Demolition Operations at Khamisiyah. Final Report, April 2002. gulflink.osd.mil[online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/khamisiyah_iii/index.htm
[9a] Lee, Kristen. After two decades of waiting, Gulf War vets see new hope, April 24, 2013. boston.com[online]. 2013. Available from: http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/malden/2013/04/after_two_decades_of_waiting_g_1.html
[9b] Haley, Robert W.; Tuite, James J. Meteorological and Intelligence Evidence of Long-Distance Transit of Chemical Weapons Fallout from Bombing Early in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, December 2012. karger.com[online]. 2012. vol. 40. pp. 160-177. Available from: http://content.karger.com/ProdukteDB/produkte.asp?Aktion=ShowFulltext&ArtikelNr=345123&Ausgabe=257603&ProduktNr=224263 DOI: 10.1159/000345123
[9c] Haley, Robert W.; Tuite, James J. Epidemiologic Evidence of Health Effects from Long-Distance Transit of Chemical Weapons Fallout from Bombing Early in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, December 2012. karger.com[online]. vol. 40. pp. 178-189. Available from: http://content.karger.com/ProdukteDB/produkte.asp?Aktion=ShowFulltext&ArtikelNr=345124&Ausgabe=257603&ProduktNr=224263 DOI: 10.1159/000345124
[9d] Haley, RW; Charuvastra, E; Shell, WE; Buhner, DM; Marhall, WW; Biggs, MM; Hopkins, SC; Wolfe, SC; Vernino, S. Cholinergic autonomic dysfunction in veterans with gulf war illness: confirmation in a population-based sample, February 2013. JAMA Neurol.[online]. 2013. vol 70(2). pp. 191-200. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23407784 doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.596
 United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Gulf War Veterans' Medically Unexplained Illnesses. va.gov[online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/medically-unexplained-illness.asp
 United States Department of Veteran Affairs. Caring for Gulf War I Veterans, 2011. va.gov[online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/docs/vhi/caring-for-gulf-war-veterans-vhi.pdf
 US House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Witness Testimony of Mr. James Binns, Reasearch Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illneses, US Department of Veterans Affairs, July 2007. veterans.house.gov[online]. 2012. Available from: http://veterans.house.gov/witness-testimony/mr-james-binns
 Fulco, Carolyn E; Liverman, Catharyn T.; Sox, Harold C. National Academy Press. Committee on Health Effects Associated with Exposures During the Gulf War. Gulf War and Health: Volume 1. Depleted Uranium, Sarin, Pysidostigmine Bromide, Vaccines, 2000. nap.edu[online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9953&page=R1
 Medical News Today. Low-Level Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides Damage Brain and Nervous System, December 2012. medicalnewstoday.com[online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/253534.php
 Walsh, Nancy. Nerve Deficits May Drive Gulf War Syndrome, November 2012. medpagetoday.com[online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Neurology/GeneralNeurology/36113
 Hardie, Anthony; Sullivan, Paul; Blakey, Morris; Casey, Brent; Fahey, Dan; Fuzi, William; Graves, Joel; Gustafson, Erik K.; Knox, Marguerite; Kornkven, Chris; Robinson, Steve; Sheehan-Miles, Charles; Winnett, David K. Jr; Zacchea, Michael J. Hearing on Veterans' Military Records, December 4, 2012. scribd.com[online]. 2012. Available from: http://www.scribd.com/doc/115956730/Testimony-DAMA-Lost-Records-FINAL
[18a] Chedekel, Lisa. Closing in on a Medical Mystery, SPH leads team searching for Gulf War illness answers, February 2013. bu.edu[online]. 2013. Available from: http://www.bu.edu/today/2013/closing-in-on-a-medical-mystery/
 News Medical. Schizophrenia may be linked to immune function. news-medical.net[online]. August 2012. Available from: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20120807/Schizophrenia-may-be-linked-to-immune-function.aspx
 Gheradi, RK. Lessons from macrophagic myofasclitis: towards definition of a vaccine adjuvant-related syndrome, Feb 2003. Rev Neurol (Paris)[online]. 2013. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12660567
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