Gulf War Syndrome Essay

Gulf War Syndrome Essay

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Gulf War SyndromeImagine a soldier that is willing to die for his country in the Persian Gulf region, so that Americans could pay less for petroleum products in the Gulf, the soldier serves his country, with honor, loyalty, and dignity. In an attempt to win the war, Saddam Hussein launches a chemical attack on American troops, leaving some soldiers with a lot of incurable symptoms. Such symptoms include headaches, diarrhea, bleeding gums, chronic fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and rashes which are being grouped as Gulf War Syndrome (Fischer 148). Then the soldier receives a good old American welcome back home from supporters of the troops. After the parades and ceremonies are finished the veteran experiences recurring headaches and chronic fatigue. The veteran seeks treatment at a VA hospital, saying his illness is a result of serving in the Gulf. Instantly, he is denied benefits and services for making a claim that he cannot prove. Why would the US government want to deny combat veterans of his claim? What is American government trying to hide? I believe that Gulf War Syndrome is a side effect of low-levels of chemical and biological warfare agents the troops were exposed to during their service in the Persian Gulf. I can justify my belief by the number of ailing vets and Saddam s stockpile of chemical and biological weapons. The use of chemical warfare in the Gulf is a reality. First there was the Iraqi Arsenal, they possessed several weapons of the death. They were building nuclear weapons and already had chemical and biological weapons. Iraq owned 1500 gallons of anthrax which were in 50 bombs and 10 missiles, and 100 bombs and 15 missiles were loaded with the toxin agent Botulinum that destroys the nerves and eventually chokes the inflicted to a horrible death. Also Iraq possessed a nerve agent called Ricin that could kill with only a single drop (Hedges and Cary 41). Classified reports from the Pentagon also support the veterans claim that they were exposed to chemical warfare. The documents reported that chemical agents were detected and that some chemical weapons were left on the battlefield. Also our allies, the Czech and French forces detected chemical agents with their detection devices in Northern Saudi Arabia during the beginning of the Gulf War, but US commanders ordered that any warning coming from the Czechs were to be ignored. When the Marines first landed in Kuwait, chemical detection devices sound (Hedges and Cray 43). Also a former CIA analyst, Patrick Eddington, revealed records from the 101st Airborne division that showed the division detected exposure to chemical agent. (AP 5)Besides the alerts and chemical warfare arsenal there were also Saddam s orders and threats. Iraqi papers that were intercepted by US intelligence reveals that Saddam ordered that chemical warfare was to be used on Allied targets, but his orders were not to be followed through. Saddam did this so he would not be responsible for the chemical attacks. Within other documents were instructions on how and when the chemical and biological weapons were to be released. The initial attack would come when troops invaded Iraq. Saddam had drawn defense lines across Kuwait and if that the final line were crossed the Iraqi were ready with a chemical or biological attack on the Allied Forces (Timmerman 14). A chemical attack is not the only possibility on how the troops were exposed. The second possibility is that the troops could have been exposed when the Allied forces conducted installation bombings raids on Iraqi targets. "Considering the above factors [concentration of agent, the elevation of the agents plume, and environmental factors such as wind speed and inversion conditions and wind direction] many thousands of fatal casualties could be realized in neighboring countries such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Israel, Iran and the Soviet Union," (Timmerman 14). A 100 kilograms of anthrax could drop entire communities of people. After the bombings, chemical and biological weapons were found. In one site near Baghdad, "75 tons of sarin, 60 to 70 gallons of tabun, 250 tons of mustard gas and stocks of throdiglycal, a precursor used in mustard gas." (Fisher 151). "And then on the morning of January 17, 1991, the first day of the Gulf War, the official government newspaper in Baghdad announced that Iraq would unleash a secret weapon threat would astonish our enemies and fascinate our friends and release an unusual force " (Fischer 151). This "unusual force," was predicted to be chemical and biological weapons by US experts and officials. What more proof does one need? You have the weapons, the motive, and the chemical detection alarms ringing. If this were a criminal case, a guilty verdict would have already been passed down. We were at war with Iraq, Saddam had the weapons, the one question how why didn t he launch a full chemical attack? I believe the answer is he did not want the Allies to launch a nuclear attack. If a full chemical assault were to happen on American Troops, less than half would survive according to Army chemical experts. This is due to their outdated and obsolete chemical gear. American troops have had to use the same model of gas masks since the 1960 s and even back then the masks were not safe. The main problem is leakage (Sherwood 11). In order for the mask to function proper an airtight seal is a must. The problem lies in the mask because the seal does not fit some face shapes and sizes. This problem would cause leakage, when subject to a chemical attack in up to 50 percent of the masks. When the General Accounting Office conducted exercises to test the effectiveness of the gear, seven of twenty-three soldiers neglected to get the proper airtight seal, without the air tight seal, the mask would leak and thus be ineffective. The main reason why the soldier could not put on the mask properly is that the soldiers never did receive the proper training, which is four hours in full chemical gear (Sherwood 12). Some flaws were also associated with the chemical protected suits worn by
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