Gulf War illness: A federal report says, “it’s real.”
A federal report released and presented to the VA on November 17, 2008 confirms that a large percentage of Gulf War veterans are suffering from Gulf War illness – a condition that affects a person’s brain and nervous system. While the causes have yet to be confirmed, the illness is said to be the likely consequence of exposure to toxic chemicals, including pesticides and a drug given to troops to shield them from the harmful effects of nerve gas.
The biggest breakthrough for Gulf War vets is that the 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.” It also notes that few veterans have recovered over time.
Symptoms of Gulf War illness include, but are not limited to:
- Difficulty remembering things
- Difficulty concentrating
- Persistent headaches
- Widespread pain
- Gastrointestinal problems
The report also speculates that there may be a link between the Gulf War illness and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease since ALS is more prevalent among Gulf War vets than vets of other wars.
This is yet another example of the bureaucratic abuse our vets are forced to endure everyday of their lives. What this “federal report” says to me, and I am confident that many will agree, is that: 1) it too way too long for our government to investigate the effects the pollutants and drugs used in this conflict would have on those who served, but even worse is that 2) prior to the release of this report, thousands upon thousands of Gulf War vets who complained of the same symptoms were dismissed as not service-related. How could the VA ignore the obvious?! Sad…very sad…