An American Crisis: Gulf War Syndrome


Imagine 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