Finally, an end to the last battle of the Gulf War?
November 17, 2008 9:51 AM   Subscribe

A report presented today to the US Secretary of Veteran's Affairs concludes that Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) is "a real condition with real causes and serious consequences for affected veterans." While depleted uranium had long been suspected as a cause of the physical and neurological symptoms associated with GWS, the report fingers pesticides and the pyridostigmine bromide pills given to troops to counter the effects of nerve agents.

GWS has been the object of immense study and debate since veterans first started complaining of a long list of non-specific symptoms. Frontline has a nice guide to The Last Battle of the Gulf War. It contradicts previous studies, which had found increased reporting of symptoms among veterans, but "no cluster of symptoms that constitute a syndrome unique to Gulf War veterans." It might also lend support to groups fighting for the recognition of other syndromes - clusters of symptoms with no single identifiable cause - including Sick Building Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. And perhaps Carol White will finally figure out what gave her a nosebleed.
posted by googly (10 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I didn't see a link to the report in the post or at the CNN article. Apologies if I missed it (didn't follow all the links). 450 page pdf can be downloaded from here.
posted by genug at 10:49 AM on November 17, 2008

While depleted uranium had long been suspected as a cause

... by people who couldn't differentiate between radioactive and toxic properties, and probably overlap with those who are HIV-to-AIDS skeptics. Pity there was so much wasted effort on trying to prove that link. Instead people lost a couple standard deviations of intelligence when they heard the word Uranium.

Thanks for the links, though.
posted by FuManchu at 11:00 AM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

That's not meant to suggest that uranium isn't toxic, surely, FuManchu?
posted by Mister_A at 11:07 AM on November 17, 2008

Heavy metals are generally not good for you. It's not an irrational hypothesis that inhaled rare heavy metal might be bad for you. Lots of people are dumb, but try not to paint too broadly.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 11:12 AM on November 17, 2008

Thanks genug. The link was supposed to be on "report," but I somehow dropped it.
posted by googly at 11:21 AM on November 17, 2008

No, no, not implying it's harmless. But if people had been focusing on it's toxic properties, it would have been illogical to focus so much on it exclusively, when militaries bring a cornucopia of toxic materials.
posted by FuManchu at 11:42 AM on November 17, 2008

In 1997 I met a Gulf War vet who said he was really in need of medical help and got none because he said his Gulf War Syndrome wasn't recognized. Ever since then I've wondered what was up with Gulf War Syndrome. And not just that war but I've read here on the blue all kind of vets not getting their medical needs met from the Iraq War too. Was the Gulf War used to test new bizarre weapons? Was that part of the agenda?

Depleted uranium? huh. How did that get into the picture? Ah. "Military personnel have been exposed to depleted uranium as the result of friendly fire incidents, cleanup and salvage operations, and proximity to burning depleted uranium-containing tanks and ammunition." It was our own depleted uranium harming our own soldiers.

When I think about how many people have had to suffer because of the oil/petroleum business, looking at obscenely large SUVs in the USA and all the plastic waste is horrible. The whole SUV thing just got out of hand. A friend was in a car that was rear ended by a SUV. His ordinary car was totaled, the SUV had hardly a scratch. He then bought an SUV. It's time to get smaller cars. Europe and the rest of the planet for that matter is way ahead of America there.

Pyridostigmine Bromide , "it is poorly absorbed in the gut and doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier, except possibly in stressful conditions. Like war? Wondering which pharmaceutical company made a mint off this nightmare? 250,000 personnel took PB during the Gulf War. A quarter of a million soldiers. yikes. If they were in their 20's in 1990, when the Gulf War started, they'd be in their late 30's early 40's now.

The people who are gungho war, kill kill kill 'em all those damn whoever, don't see the big picture, the massive long term costs and after effects, the messes of war. The violent, impatient impulse of a few to try and solve a problem by bombing, killing or warfare, not only does not solve the original problem, the long, painful train of repercussions end up costing the rest of humanity for decades. Humanity needs to invest less in weaponry and more in conflict resolution skills/strategies, long range planning for peace.

Looking at the Gulf War Veterans site:

Interesting to see the sponsors on the right index.
Get a VA Home Loan
Gun Parts
Colloidal Silver
Best Man Gifts
Trasylol Lawsuit
Fentanyl Lawyer

The Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs. Looking at that list makes me wonder about why those illnesses in particular are listed.
posted by nickyskye at 12:08 PM on November 17, 2008

Heavy metals are generally not good for you.

For the last time! They aren't really Satanists!
posted by katillathehun at 12:08 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

There was a piece about this on PM (a radio news show here in Britain), where the head of the psychology department at King's Centre for Military Health Research was quite scathing about the report. He said (I'm summarising his main quote): "Anything that keeps the issue in the press is important, but what's also important is that they're told the truth. Most of what is in this report either isn't new, or when it is new it isn't particularly truthful, and I think that's regrettable." Interview available for the next 18 hours or so here at 41'00" or thereabouts.
posted by athenian at 1:32 PM on November 17, 2008

I'm glad that the government is finally admitting that the Gulf War vets need help with this, instead of shoving their fingers in their ears and singing to themselves.

As terrible as it was to expose them to whatever the hell we exposed them to was, it pales in comparison to pretending nothing was wrong with them afterward.

My heart goes out to everyone living with Gulf War Syndrome, I hope you finally get the help you need and deserve, and I hope it isn't too late.
posted by paisley henosis at 3:57 PM on November 17, 2008

« Older I Am Not a Whiner   |   Your worst favorite band sucks Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments