Even though this has only become a reality for the government, this reality has been a denied one for my Gulf War I brothers and I for 17 years. Finally, we have been told that the physical pain, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Severe Headaches, Joint Pain, Muscle Pain, Nerve Damage, Neurological Damage, Auto-Immune Deficiencies, Unusual Fevers & Night Sweats, Sleep Disturbances, Gastrointestinal signs or symptoms, Confusion, Memory Loss, Blood In Stools & Urine, Fybromyligia, Epstein Barr Syndrome, Micoplasma Fermentans Incognitis Infections, Chemical Sensitivities--(These are just the symptoms that I have--YES there is more).
Here you will find the "probable causes" of GWS,
- Pyridostigmine Bromide (PB) - I was forced to take this experimental drug - it has been reported that this was an optional participation experiment - bullshit, my squad leader watched me three times a day when I took this drug of death, I had to open my mouth and lift my tongue after ingestion as he inspected
- Pesticides - yes I slathered this shit on (the old Vietnam pesticide worked the best, yes it had DEET in it) the fucking flies where thick you could look up at the top of the tent and see black patches of flies as big as 6 feet in diameter.
- Oil Well Fires - uh check, it was night for a week before I was shipped out to go home
- Psychological Stressors - if you call watching over 20,000 enemy soldiers dying that did not stand a chance to our superior weaponry and technology then yes I, may, could have possibly, received some psychological damage
- Depleted Uranium - Well the report does say that this one here was not a contributing factor, I say bullshit - up until the first Gulf War the government has had strict handling procedures in the storage of depleted uranium (think of the storage facilities that every state in the US does not want Nuclear Waste stored in their backyard - YES, HELLO Depleted Uranium is that exact same Nuclear Waste - except now the US has a place to 'safely' put this waste), I was talking about storage handling - the factory that makes DP rounds for the military have the employees dress in radiation suits all day during manufacturing, then when we get them in the field, sitting right on top of the rounds, YES on top, it somehow is 'OK' to handle them without any safety precautions (except point your weapon down range of course), the government is more worried about LEAD then this toxic metal, LEAD is bad - DU is good - how long were we feed that Lead did not fry our kids brains when they ate that paint?
I think that even though this war was so short, that the experience of killing literally thousands upon thousands of people in 100 hours cannot be imagined and has had a profound effect on the Gulf War I veterans which has been overlooked. The movie Jarhead does a disservice to the experience that I had. My experience, 100 hours of sustained combat and carnage, watching many thousands of people die, and I contributed to many sons losing their fathers. A crippling guilt that I still face today.
Anyway, my point is that we, Gulf War I veterans have been through quite a bit of shit from the government and would be an asset to the guys coming home now. The reason that I have been extending my hand to those that need help and recognition of the walking wounded and the fight against the stigma of asking for help.
Decades of denial, starting from the Vietnam War, that our military service has had a lasting impact, mentally and medically on our lives--Agent Orange and PTSD with our Vietnam Vets, Gulf War Syndrome with Gulf War I vets and now a psychological band-aid for our modern vets.
When will our nation learn that we cannot keep ignoring our veterans, that to do so, we do to our nations peril?