VA Quagmire Over Gulf War Syndrome

Though the Department of Veterans Affairs has reported progress in the area of Persian Gulf War Syndrome, many remain baffled.

VA Secretary and Prince of Silence Eric Shinseki announced his department will address illnesses stemming from the Persian Gulf War.

Sort of.

In a long-awaited report, the VA’s Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses Task Force recommended a number of benign measures leaving crucial questions unanswered. The plan barely targets the immediate needs of possibly more than 300,000 veterans.

For now, nine specific diseases have been highlighted, as reported the American Foreign Press Service: Campylobacter jejuni, Coxiella burnetii (Q fever), malaria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, nontyphoidal Salmonella, Shigella, visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar) and West Nile virus.

That’s it. Well, the VA also is going to do further research into Gulf War Syndrome and reach out to veterans, but there is little relief for the majority claiming maladies stemming from service in the “Save Kuwait” campaign. Our guess is a listed illness like life-threatening malaria would have been diagnosed quickly and pinpointed to its origin.

The chairman of the Gulf War Task Force is Shinseki’s chief of staff John R, Gingrich. Gingrich has been Shinseki’s trusted (and overprotective) gatekeeper for many years. Maybe not the best guy for what seems to be another bureaucratic exercise to nowhere. The task force failed to answer long-standing questions like, “Is there a problem?”

The VA needs to get Gulf War Syndrome into the disability bible, the Veterans Administration Schedule for Rating Disabilities, or VASRD, but that brings us back to the unanswered “Is there a problem and if so, what is it?”

It only took 40 years for the VA to determine its handling of illnesses stemming from exposure to the infamous Vietnam jungle defoliant Agent Orange.

Will Gulf War vets have to wait another 20 years?

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