GULF WAR SYNDROM RECOGNIZED-WHAT ABOUT AID FOR US WHO LIVE HERE IN KUWAIT AND IRAQ?
by Kevin Stoda
Dear Kuwaiti and Iraqi residents,
I noted during this past week, the following headline was placed at the top of the front page in the ARAB TIMES on Wednesday here in Kuwait: "Report to Congress: Gulf War Syndrome is Real".
The particular article originated from the L.A. Times. The authors of the L.A. Times article, Mary Engle and Thomas Maugh state,
"Contradicting nearly two decades of government denials, a congressionally mandated scientific panel has concluded that Gulf War syndrome is real and still afflicts nearly a quarter of the 700,000 U.S. troops who served in the 1991 conflict. The report cited two chemical exposures consistently associated with the disorder: the drug pyridostigmine bromide, given to troops to protect against nerve gas, and pesticides that were widely used and often overused to protect against sand flies and other pests."
The 450-page report was presented to U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Peake and claimed, "The extensive body of scientific research now available consistently indicates that Gulf War illness is real, that it is a result of neurotoxic exposures during Gulf War deployment, and that few veterans have recovered or substantially improved with time."
OTHERWISE THERE IS SILENCE IN KUWAIT
Unlike this past Spring when the shipment of tons and tons of uranium and led tainted sand from Kuwaiti, i.e. from the old U.S. military base named Camp Doha northwest of Kuwait City, had created a stir in Kuwaiti newspapers and blogs, there has been next-to-nothing mentioned in the Kuwaiti media nor newspapers about the effects of the Gulf War on the local populations living here in the Persian Gulf, i.e. where longtime environmental health hazards have risen after three major wars in the past three decades.
The headline on page 1 of the ARAB TIMES on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 combined with the relative silence over the three subsequent days, leads me to make the following observation:
(1) Kuwaitis and Kuwaiti residents are worried about continuing lingering effects by the same sources of Gulf War Syndrome suffered by war victims around the world, e.g. such as experienced by American soldiers since 1990.
(2) Kuwaitis continue to desire not to make a big public fuss about their health concerns as long as it relies on the U.S. as its nuclear or military umbrella.
To help Kuwaitis, I offer this background on how to begin to investigate the syndrome. The next step would be to discuss the matter with your doctor if you have been suffering.
Symptoms of Gulf War Illnesses (according to the American Legion) include:
- Chronic Fatigue
- Signs and symptoms involving skin (including skin rashes and unusual hair loss)
- Muscle pain
- Neurologic signs or symptoms (nervous system disorders which could manifest themselves in numbness in one's arm, for instance)
- Neuropsychological signs or symptoms (including memory loss)
- Signs or symptoms involving upper or lower respiratory system
- Sleep disturbances
- Gastrointestinal signs or symptoms (including recurrent diarrhea and constipation)
- Cardiovascular signs or symptoms
- Menstrual disorders
This is an incomplete list.