Gulf War Syndrome Defined
by H. Lindsey Arison III
GULF WAR SYNDROME DEFINED --EVIDENCE AND CONCLUSIONS
Read by over 22,000 people in 63 countries.
H. Lindsey Arison III
II Primary Sources
IV Bottom Line
VII Selected Testimonies of GW Veterans Before Congressional Committees
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve (Ret.)
B.S., West Point
M.S. Systems Management, USC
M.P.A., Harvard University
Ph.D. Candidate (Chemical Pollution), University of Wales, U.K.
Former Congressional Fellow, U.S. House of Representatives
Assisted with the U.S. Senate investigation
Top Secret Clearance
Disabled veteran from the Vietnam Era
Served in the Army Operations Center, Pentagon during the Gulf War
II. PRIMARY SOURCES
The primary source document for this paper is the May 25, 1994, 198-page, U. S. Senate Report "U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual-Use Exports to Iraq and Their Possible Impact on the Health Consequences of the Persian Gulf War" Link to May 25, 1994 Senate Report -- A Report of Chairman Donald W. Riegle, Jr. and Ranking Member Alfonse M. D'Amato of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs with Respect to Export Administration. James J. Tuite, III, Professional Staff Member and Special Assistant to the Chairman for National Security Issues and Dual-Use Export Policies. Link to May 25, 1994 Senate Hearing Transcript
The May 25, 1994 Committee report and the subsequent October 7, 1994 report are contained in the document S.Hrg. 103-900, Hearing before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on United States Dual-Use Exports to Iraq and Their Impact on the Health of the Persian Gulf Veterans, May 25, 1994. Link to October 7, 1994 Senate Report
"Report on the Fallout from the Destruction of Iraqi Chemical Warfare Agent Research, Production, and Storage Facilities into Areas Occupied by U.S. Military Personnel During the 1991 Persian Gulf War." James J. Tuite III, International Security Consultant and Director, Gulf War Research Foundation, September 19, 1996. Link to September 19, 1996 Report
Link to the Chronological Record of 24 Iraqi Chemical Warfare Agent Facilities Bombed by Coalition Forces, 17 Jan - 21 Feb 91
Former U.S. Senator Donald W. Riegle, Jr. (on right) and James J. Tuite III
(Endnotes are in brackets [ ] )
Since the Gulf War ended in 1991, the leadership of the Department of Defense has affirmed to veterans and sworn to the U.S. Congress that "there is no information, classified or unclassified, that indicates that chemical or biological weapons were used in the Persian Gulf" and that "there were no confirmed detections of any chemical or biological agents at any time during the entire conflict."
Caving in to Congressional pressure imposed by the Honorable Chris Shays of Connecticut -- late on the evening before Rep. Shays' September 19, 1996 hearing on the exposure of troops to chemical and biological agents, five years after the war ended, DoD admitted that more than 5,000 troops "may" have been exposed to chemical weapons when a battalion of U.S. soldiers blew up an Iraqi ammunition depot.
One month later, at the Pentagon's October 22, 1996 Background News Briefing, this number was increased to 20,867. "That's not an exact number, of course, but that's the best approximation we have right now." Link to the 22 Oct 96 News Briefing
On June 26, 1997, the Pentagon increased the number to 27,000.
On July 24, 1997, the Pentagon increased the number to 98,900. "An estimated 98,900 troops were in the path of a plume of nerve gas unleashed when U.S. combat engineers blew up the Kamisiyah ammunition depot in southern Iraq in March 1991, shortly after the war. That represents almost one-seventh of all Americans who served in the war."
The truth is:
When the air war started on 17 Jan 91, U.S. intelligence knew of 19 Iraqi biological bunkers. 19 (100% of the biological bunkers known at that time) were bombed and destroyed. Two more biological bunkers were discovered later -- too late to be bombed. Of the 21 total biological bunkers, 95.2% (20 of 21) were in southern Iraq; only one biological bunker was in northern Iraq.
U.S. intelligence knew of 31 Iraqi chemical bunkers. Only 77.4% (24 of 31) of the chemical bunkers were bombed and only 17 (54.8%) were destroyed. The seven chemical bunkers not bombed were located at Samarra -- Iraq's principal center for chemical weapons production, 50 miles north of Baghdad. Of the eight chemical bunkers at Iraq's main CW facility, only one was destroyed.
Archived meteorological data, including visible and infrared satellite imagery, illustrates irrefutably and conclusively that the toxic debris from the bombed facilities traveled directly towards U.S. military personnel.
14,000 chemical agent alarms deployed with U.S. forces in the Gulf sounded three times each per day, on average, during the air and ground wars, according to sworn DoD testimony before the U.S. Senate. 
Chemical agents were present in areas where hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers were massing for the upcoming invasion of Iraq and liberation of Kuwait. 
It is estimated there are now more than 80,000 veterans suffering from Gulf War Syndrome, many still on active duty. Reports from the U.K. indicate there are thousands of British veterans with the syndrome.
According to an official document published in August 1998 by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, 9,000 Persian Gulf War veterans had died as of the end of March 1998. Link to the Department of Veterans Affairs August 1998 Press Release "America's Wars"
In many cases, Gulf War Syndrome appears to be transmissible. In addition to the 80,000+ veterans who are sick, there are thousands of spouses, parents, and children who are also suffering from the same debilitating illnesses -- and in the case of a disproportionate number of newborns, birth defects and physical abnormalities. Link to LIFE Magazine's Nov '95 Special Investigation "The Tiny Victims of Desert Storm -- Has Our Country ABANDONED THEM?"
IV. BOTTOM LINE
As summarized by former U.S. Senator Donald W. Riegle:
"Our afflicted veterans are sick and suffering, and many have died. Others are now destitute, having spent tens of thousands of dollars, depleting their life savings, in an unsuccessful search for an explanation for their ailments. The veterans of the Gulf War have asked us for nothing more than the assistance they have earned. Our refusal to come to their immediate assistance can only lead others to question the integrity of the nation they serve." 
The Washington Post, April 11, 1997:
"It is clear that the CIA as well as the Defense Department has been complicit in a stonewall, if not a coverup."
Gulf War Syndrome is not about a small group of veterans who simply have muscle cramps, joint pain, headaches, and sleep disorders -- which have been cavalierly dismissed as psychological or PTSD-related. It was not caused, in part, by the "very fine sand" or "lack of recreation" or "alcohol deprivation" -- as Dr. Joshua Lederberg, Chairman of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Gulf War Health has suggested.
Gulf War Syndrome is the direct health consequence of prolonged (chronic) exposure to low (non-lethal) levels of chemical and biological agents released by direct Iraqi attack via missiles, rockets, artillery, or aircraft munitions; fallout from the destruction of Iraqi ammunition bunkers [such as Kamasiyah (the CIA has known about chemical munitions at this site since 1984)]; and by fallout from allied bombings of Iraqi chemical warfare munitions facilities during the 38-day air war.
Bunker at Kamasiyah
Link to the Chronological Record of 24 Iraqi Chemical Warfare Agent Facilities Bombed by Coalition Forces, 17 Jan - 21 Feb 91
The effects of these exposures were exacerbated by the deleterious and synergistic side-effects of the unproven, experimental, and toxicity-enhancing pyridostigmine bromide (PB) pills (nerve agent pre-treatment pills which were administered involuntarily), the investigational botulinum toxoid vaccines (which were also involuntary), anthrax vaccines, depleted uranium residues principally from battlefield vehicles damaged by depleted uranium-tipped armor-penetrating munitions, the pesticide DEET, and to a much lesser extent, other environmental hazards such as oil fire contamination, other pesticides (with the exception of DEET which increased its toxicity significantly when used in combinaton with PB), petrochemicals, and electromagnetic radiation from radars and communications equipment.
The infinite number of combinations and permutations of the effects of chronic exposure to low, non-lethal levels of cumulatively-effecting chemical nerve agents, to blister agents, biological agents and "cocktails," coupled with the effects of nerve agent pills, botulinum and anthrax vaccines, depleted uranium (DU) dusts, DEET, and other environmental contaminants, has produced the infinite variations in symptomatologies in Gulf War veterans. Therefore, the "mystery illness." There is, however, one principal cause - chronic exposure to low levels of chemical and biological agents.
The chronic and delayed physiological effects of toxic chemical warfare agents were well known and documented long before the Gulf War.
For additional information concerning the effects of depleted uranium (DU): Link to The Nation's 26 May 97 article "Pentagon Poison: The Great Radioactive Ammo Cover-Up"
These findings and conclusions are corroborated in the 7 Nov 97 report by the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee: "Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses: VA, DoD Continue to Resist Strong Evidence Linking Toxic Causes to Chronic Health Effects": Link to Summary, Findings, and Recommendations of H.R. 105-388
1. Before the Gulf War, Iraq had a highly developed chemical warfare program with numerous production facilities, stockpiled agents and weapons, binary capabilities (utilizing two harmless ingredients that upon combining form a lethal substance), multiple and varied delivery systems, and a documented history of chemical warfare agent use. 
Link to Chemical Agent Codes
Link to Detailed Information on Chemical and Biological Warfare Agents (At bottom of web page)
A month before the war began, then CIA Director William Woolsey estimated that Iraq possessed 1,000 tons of poisonous chemical agents, much of it capable of being loaded into two types of missiles: the FROG (Free Rocket Over Ground) and the SCUD B (SS-1). 
On July 30, 1991, Ambassador Rolf Ekeus, Director of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (the organization charged with overseeing the elimination of Iraq's chemical and nuclear arsenals), told the Security Council that U.N. inspectors found chemical warheads armed with nerve gas and that some warheads were already fitted onto SCUD missiles. 
Between 17 January and 21 February 1991, coalition forces bombed at least 24 Iraqi chemical weapons storage, research, and/or production sites. 17 tons of sarin were destroyed at the Muthanna State Establishment (Samarra) facility alone. 
Chemical warfare munitions and agents which either survived the allied bombings or were inventoried and returned to the Muthanna facility for destruction included:
13,000 155-mm artillery shells loaded with mustard gas (H),
6,200 rockets loaded with nerve agent,
800 nerve agent aerial bombs,
28 SCUD warheads loaded with nerve agent Sarin (GB),
75 tons of nerve agent Sarin (GB),
60-70 tons of nerve agent Tabun (GA), and
250 tons of mustard gas and 153,983 liters of thiodiglycol, a mustard gas precursor. 
U.N. inspectors concluded the Muthanna plant was capable of producing two tons of Sarin (GB) and five tons of mustard gas (H) daily. 
Chemical rounds were deployed to the front with the Iraqi forces and Iraqi commanders had limited or pre-designated authority to use them. 
There is substantial evidence to suggest that in the use of chemical weapons, the Iraqi military adhered to, at least in part, Soviet military doctrine. Soviet military doctrine suggested that chemical warfare should be conducted with mixed agents. Mixed agents, often referred to as "cocktails" are intended to enhance the capabilities of nerve agents and defeat the precautions taken by the enemy. Cocktails can be made by combining a wide variety of biotoxins , nerve agents, vesicants , and some biological agents -- such as bacteria and fungi. 
Iraq may have also acquired any one of a number of the Soviet binary "Novichok" series of ultra-lethal toxins that, even in microdoses, can be debilitating. In addition to inducing myosis, vomiting, memory loss, involuntary motions, and internal organ dysfunction, these toxins can have mutagenic  effects and have no known antidotes. 
2. Iraq also had an offensive biological weapons program with multiple research and production facilities, evidence of weaponization experimentation, and a history of reported use. 
According to the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq, the Iraqi biological warfare program was initiated in mid-1986.  U.N. inspectors specifically uncovered evidence the government of Iraq was conducting research on pathogen  enhancement on biological warfare-related materials to include:
clostridium botulinum (the cause of botulism), A bacterial source of botulinum toxin, which causes vomiting, constipation, thirst, general weakness, headache, fever, dizziness, double vision, dilation of the pupils, and paralysis of the muscles involving swallowing. It is often fatal. 
Iraq admitted to making and storing nearly 5,300 gallons of the bacterium, theoretically enough to kill 15 billion people. Inhalation of one microgram (or about as much as would fit on a pinhead) is enough to cause death by paralysis within hours.
bacillus anthracis (the causative agent of anthrax), A disease-producing bacteria identified by DoD as being a major component in the Iraqi biological warfare program. Anthrax is an often-fatal infectious disease due to ingestion of spores. It begins abruptly with high fever, difficulty in breathing, and chest pain. The disease eventually results in septicemia (blood poisoning), and the mortality is high. Once septicemia is advanced, antibiotic therapy may prove useless. 
Iraq said it made about 158 gallons of the anthrax bacteria in concentrated form, an amount U.N. officials say is enough to be packed inside 40 to 50 bombs that could each kill tens of thousands of people. The organism multiplies within the body after inhalation and kills within a day or so by halting breathing.
clostridium perfringens (the most common causative agent of gas gangrene),
clostridium tetani (the causative organism of tetanus or lockjaw),
brucella abortis [causes brucellosis or undulant fever (fever marked by alternating periods of abatement and increase of symptoms, pain and swelling in the joints, and weakness) and is contracted by contact with infected domestic animals or consumption of their products; also the cause of contagious abortion in cattle and other domestic animals],
brucella melentensis [causes brucellosis or undulant fever (fever marked by alternating periods of abatement and increase of symptoms, pain and swelling in the joints, and weakness) and is contracted in the same manner as brucella abortis], and
franciscella tularensis (causes tularemia; transmitted to man by the bite of an infected tick or other bloodsucking insect, by direct contact with infected animals, by eating inadequately cooked meat, or by drinking water that contains the organism. Symptoms may appear from 1 to 10 days after infection and include headache, chilliness, vomiting, aching pains, fever, sweating, loss of weight, and debility.) 
In addition, U.N. inspectors revealed that biological warfare-related stimulant research was being conducted on:
bacillus subtilis (causes conjunctivitis),
bacillus megatillus, and
bacillus cereus (an opportunistic invader of immunocompromised  patients). 
This suggests that the Iraqi government may have been experimenting with e.coli  and recombinant DNA (rDNA)  to create genetically altered microorganisms (novel  biological warfare agents). 
Novel biological warfare agents, created by altering DNA plasmids  and vectors , are specifically intended to avoid detection. Several shipments of biological materials that may have been used to carry out such a program were licensed for export from the United States to the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission. In such a program, common intestinal flora such as e.coli could be altered to produce viral, bacterial, or other toxins, and would be difficult to treat. If Iraq was successful in developing such agents, diagnosis will continue to elude physicians testing for traditional illnesses. 
3. We, the United States, provided the government of Iraq with so-called "dual use" licensed materials to develop their chemical and biological programs.  These materials included chemical warfare agent production facility plans and technical drawings (provided as pesticide production facility plans), chemical warhead filling equipment, chemical warfare agent precursors, and biological warfare-related materials.
4. U.S. chemical masks and chemical protection suits were ineffective (MOPP gear -- Mission Oriented Protective Posture).  It has been fully documented by the Inspector General of the Department of Defense; the National Security and International Affairs Division (NSIAD) of the General Accounting Office, U.S. Congress; and by independent Senate investigation, that U.S. soldiers were not adequately equipped to conduct chemical operations during Desert Storm and are not adequately equipped now.
5. U.S. chemical detection alarms were ineffective.  The principal chemical agent detection alarm used during the war, the M8A1, was not sufficiently sensitive to detect sustained low levels of chemical agent and to monitor personnel for contamination.
U.S. Army Material Safety Data Sheets indicate that chronic exposure to levels of over one-ten-thousandth of a milligram per cubic meter (.0001 mg/m3) to nerve agent Sarin (GB) is hazardous and requires the use of protective equipment. It takes 1000 times this danger level to activate the M8A1 automatic chemical agent detection alarm commonly used during the war.
In spite of this fact, 14,000 chemical alarms in theater were going off 3 times each per day, on average, during the air and ground wars according to sworn DoD testimony before the U.S. Senate. And, despite the fact that M8A1 alarms do not detect blister agents such as mustard gas, during the air war, alarms were sounding so frequently, many were simply turned off. 
Note: Claims were never made by DoD against the manufacturers of the "faulty" chemical alarms and our troops are still using the same "faulty" equipment today.
6. U.S. anti-nerve agent pills were investigational, not approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), unethically administered, tactically ineffective, and potentially very hazardous to soldiers' health.
Pyridostigmine Bromide (PB) does not protect against warfare nerve agents when taken alone; it only works in combination with other drugs. Similiarly, pyridostigmine administered after exposure to a warfare agent is not effective.  Two antidotes to nerve agents, atropine and pyridine-2-aldoxime methochloride (2-PAM), are enhanced if PB has already been given. Atropine and 2-PAM were included in he nerve agent antidote kits (Mark 1) which were given to U.S. troops.
The Pentagon believes that all 695,000 U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf War were issued PB and officials estimate that approximately two thirds took the drug for varying periods of time.
DoD scientists who studied pyridostigmine and nerve agent sarin (GB) concluded that PB should only be used when the chemical warfare threat is nerve agent soman (GD).  Defense intelligence knew well before the war that Iraq did not manufacture, stockpile, or use GD. Iraq did, however, manufacture and weaponize large quantities of sarin (GB). Pyridostigmine pre-treatment unfortunately makes individuals more vulnerable to other nerve agents such as sarin and VX. 
Moreover, Dr. James Moss, a former scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found that when used in combination with PB, a common pesticide called DEET became 10 times more toxic than when used alone. Dr. Moss was fired from the USDA because of his research.
In August of 1990, DoD scientists requested approval for a study of four men to evaluate the effects of pyridostigmine on vision. This study was deemed urgent because of the situation in Kuwait, and it was approved quickly. It is important to note that this study, to be conducted just prior to the Gulf War, gave medical exmas to the men before giving the pyridostigmine. The researchers indicated that PB should not be given to individuals who had bronchial asthma, peptic ulcer, liver, kidney, heart disease, or hypersensitivity to PB or related drugs. They informed study volunteers that possible adverse side effects included nausea, increased salivation, increased bronchial secretions, and pupil constriction. Other side effects are weakness, muscle cramps, and muscle twitches. Because of these potential side effects, all four subjects were admitted to Lyster Army Hospital as in-patients so they could be closely monitored.
In sharp contrast to the extensive precautions taken before giving PB every 8 hours for 3 days to four volunteers, a few months later, the same dosage was given for longer periods of time to over 400,000 U.S. soldiers, none of whom had been screened for any of the diseases mentioned in the informed consent form given to the four men, none of whom were warned about the risks associated with the drug, and none of whom were given a choice of whether or not to take it. Additionally, approximately 28,000 of the over 400,000 receiving PB were women, who were forced to take an investigational drug that had never been tested on healthy women. 
7. The United States did not have any biological agent detection capability whatsoever during the Gulf War. 
8. After the air war started on January 17, 1991:
Chemical detection units from the Czech Republic confirmed chemical agents,
French detection units detected chemical agents,
Chemical specialists from the British Army detected chemical agents,
Both Czech and French forces reported detections immediately to U.S. forces,
U.S. forces detected, confirmed, and reported chemical agents, and
U.S. soldiers were awarded medals for detecting chemical agents. 
Iraqi fatalities incident to the bombing of a biological warfare agent production facility near Baghdad were reported in the international press. As revealed in the CIA/Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) translation of an article in the 10 Feb 91 Moscow TASS:
Following a coalition forces' air raid on a bacteriological weapons producing facility not far from the Iraqi capital, 50 guards of the plant died of an unknown and rapidly progressing disease, the Cairo-based newspaper AL-HAQIQA writes with reference to an Egyptian who worked at a Baghdad hospital.
The physician, who fled Iraq across the Syrian border, told the newspaper's correspondent that about 100 servicement from among the guards of the plant were brought to the hospital immediately after the air raid. A half of them died shortly after being hospitalized despite medical personnel's effort. The sufferers sustained injuries of the lungs, the circulatory and intestinal systems.
According to the physician, attempts to disinfect the hospital were unsuccessful and the infection was spreading in Baghdad.
He maintains that the incidence of disease in Basrah, Mosul, and Tikrit, where air strikes were delivered on chemical and bacteriological facilities, was assuming a massive character and that there was a point to speak of an epidemic.
Link to the CIA/FBIS Translation of the Moscow TASS Article "Cairo Paper Reports Raid on Iraqi CW Plant, Deaths"
Chemical warfare agents were even discovered in Kuwait after the war. In August 1991, British and American forces confirmed mustard gas leaking from a metal storage tank abandoned by Iraqi forces. Mustard was confirmed in 21 consecutive tests, 8 of the tests using mass spectrometers in two separate FOX vehicles. Soldiers were injured and evacuated immediately for chemical agent exposure.
In considering the consequences of the placement of troops in areas downwind (where non-lethal exposure to chemical warfare agents might be expected), it must be remembered that chemical nerve agents, such as Sarin (GB) and Soman (GD), have CUMULATIVE effects. After a single exposure, daily exposure to concentrations of a nerve agent insufficient to produce symptoms may result in the onset of symptoms after several days. Continued daily exposure may be followed by increasingly severe effects. 
9. During the November 10, 1993 unclassified briefing for Members of the U.S. Senate, in response to direct questioning, then Under Secretary of Defense, and now Director of Central Intelligence, (Chemical Engineer and Physical Chemist) Dr. John M. Deutch said that the Department of Defense was withholding classified information on the exposure of U.S. forces to biological materials during the Gulf War. 
10. For five years, the Department of Defense has continued to publicly claim, however, "there were no confirmed detections of any chemical or biological agents at any time during the entire conflict." 
In a letter to all Persian Gulf War Veterans (dated May 25, 1994 -- the same day as the Senate hearing), General John M. Shalikashvili (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and William J. Perry (Secretary of Defense) also directly contradicted what then Under Secretary of Defense Dr. John M. Deutch told U.S. Senators on November 10, 1993. Both affirm: "There is no information, classified or unclassified, that indicates that chemical or biological weapons were used in the Persian Gulf."
VII. SELECTED TESTIMONIES OF GULF WAR VETERANS BEFORE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES
NOTE: These testimonies were given in 1993, 5 years ago.
Excerpts from the testimony of Sterling Syms, Petty Officer First Class, U.S. Naval Reserve, before the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Subcommittee on Force Requirements and Personnel, 30 June 1993: (At the time of the attack, Petty Officer First Class Syms was assigned to Naval Reserve Mobile Construction Battalion 24 at Camp 13 in Al Jubayl.)
Around 2 or 3 in the morning there was a real bad explosion overhead. The alarm went off. Everybody started hitting their bunkers. There was a high odor of ammonia in the air that burned your eyes. Whatever it was, it burnt and stung your skin bad. The skin even burned after we got into our chemical clothing. We went to full chemical gear, and were in that situation for about 2 hours before it was passed down that there was an "all clear". But we were told it was a sonic boom. To my knowledge, you do not get a fireball from a sonic boom. We knew that there was something wrong. We were told that it was a fireball. We have had men that were ordered to shut up talking about it.
Excerpts from the testimony of Nick Roberts, U.S. Navy Reserve, before a special hearing of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, 9 November 1993: (At the time of the attack, Nick Roberts was assigned to Naval Reserve Mobile Construction Battalion 24 at Camp 13 in Al Jubayl.)
I was in perfect health until the night when we were hit. After coming out of the bunker I was exposed to something. My skin began to burn and sting, my lips were numb, there was a very strange taste in my mouth, my nose run uncontrollably, and my eyes watered quite a bit. Chemical detectors were sounding, radio transmissions were coming in - "confirmed gas attack - go to MOPP level 4" (the highest level of chemical protection). Marines stationed around us were also sounding their warning signals and screaming "Confirmed gas attack! Go to full chemical gear!"
As I was feeling my own symptoms, I saw my buddies and realized that they were experiencing the same thing that I was, some even worse. After a long day of questions and wondering what had happened we were informed that we had simply experienced a sonic boom. To my knowledge, sonic booms don't cause flashes and cause reactions to skin and eyes. When I spoke with the decontamination leader from our camp later on, he advised me that his test kit detected mustard gas and lewisite.
NOTE: Lewisite vapors cause stinging and burning and irritation to the eyes and upper respiratory tract. Its smell could be confused with ammonia. The injurious effect of mustard gas is associated with its ability to inhibit many enzyme systems of the body. This, in turn, prevents the intra-cell exchange of chemicals and leads to necrosis (death) of the tissue. Death is associated mainly with necrosis of the tissue of the central nervous system. Mustard gas has a period of latent effect (the first signs of injury appear after 2-12 hours.)
Excerpts from the certified statement of Chief Warrant Officer 3 J. P. Cottrell, U.S. Marine Corps, September 1993: Chief Cottrell was Officer-in-Charge of one of the German-made FOX Nuclear-Biological-Chemical (NBC) detection vehicles deployed in the Gulf. The FOX accurately detects 60 known chemical agents simultaneously using a highly sophisticated, laboratory-quality mass spectrometer.
It is known to me that during the ground offensive of Operation Desert Storm, chemical agent vapors were found by Task Force Ripper (of the 1st Marine Corps Division) in the vicinity of N28 32', E47 52'. We detected blister agent at levels below IMMEDIATE threat to personnel.
On the evening of the first day of the ground attack, we detected Lewisite blister vapors in the vicinity of N28 50' E47 50'. I reported the findings to Division Headquarters and requested directions in regards to the chemical agent print-out. I was told to forward the tape up the chain of command. (Tapes are the paper records of the exact chemical breakdown of the liquid by the mass spectrometer.) A report came back that our equipment was only activated by oil smoke. Our computer, however, had separated the petroleum compound from the chemical agent. The computer tape has (conveniently) been lost.
Around the bunker complex in the vicinity of N29 14' E47 54' we detected chemical vapors and reported it to higher headquarters. Task Force Ripper was then ordered back to the division support area and no further detection operations were carried out.
Excerpts from the statement of Sergeant Robert S. Maison, U.S. Marine Corps, 22 September 1993:
On the second night of the ground war, while I was attached to Task Force Ripper as a Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Reconnaissance Team member, our team observed an artillery attack to our northwest, at a distance of approximately four kilometers. About five to six minutes later an alarm was sounded by our detection equipment (a mass spectrometer) which is used specifically for that purpose. Taking into account the wind speeds that we were encountering (approximately 40 to 50 knots steady), the reading would not be expected to last a long duration, as it did not (approximately three minutes). The specific agent detected was Lewisite in a concentration considered to produce casualties but not death.
Excerpts from the testimony of Willie Hicks, Staff Sergeant E-6, U.S. Army, before the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Subcommittee on Force Requirements and Personnel, 30 June 1993: At the time of the attack, SSG Hicks was serving as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of ammunition movement, 644th Ordnance Company.
It was around 2:30 in the morning. The chemical alarms went off. As we were running to the bunker we started burning. Our faces were burning. Some guy just dropped. And we went inside the bunkers. About 10 minutes later the first sergeant came around and told us to go to the highest level (of chemical protection) you can go to. We stayed at that level for 24 hours.
About 2 or 3 days later a couple of guys started getting sick. I got sick myself. I had discharge with my urine with blood in it. Some guys had a problem with their rectums. The Commanding Officer put out an order that nobody would discuss it. We were discussing it anyway because I was in charge of ammunition movements and the guys there, they knew it had to be chemical.
85 of the 110 guys who came back with the unit were sick. We also had one guy that died by the name of Staff Sergeant Bell. And in his case he was in good physical shape. He did not smoke or drink. He came home one day feeling good, walked up the street, and came back, and dropped dead.
We have a sergeant, Staff Sergeant Neal that is now nothing more than a vegetable. I carry notebooks all the time now because my memory is gone. I used to teach school. I had to quit my job because I kept passing out or getting lost going to work.
Weight loss: I went from 170 down to 126 last month. I'm now up to 150.
I have no income. I lost my car. I was getting desperate for funds to support my family with. The VA tried to charge me $169 a day for being in the hospital. I went up and questioned it. I said this is service-connected. The lady said you have not proven it to be service-connected, therefore, we are charging you $169 a day. I said, I have no income. She said, it makes no difference.
I am also a veteran from the Vietnam War. I think this is Vietnam all over again because I know how I was treated when I came back from there. I have been completely forgotten. And I am sick and unable to work because I served my country.
Excerpts from the testimony of Mrs. Hester Adcock, before a special hearing of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, 9 November 1993. Mrs. Adcock's son, Army Specialist Michael Adcock, died at the age of 22 of multiple cancers. He was stationed at Al-Jubayl on 20 January 1991, when his unit was chemically attacked.
I am the mother of Army Specialist Michael C. Adcock, 22 year old Gulf War veteran. Michael served in Desert Storm from January 18, 1991 till May 19, 1991. Exactly eleven months after returning from the Gulf, Michael died of multiple cancers.
Prior to the Gulf War, Michael was physically fit, very healthy, a four-year letterman in high school football, broke a weightlifting record, worked out daily, and while serving in Germany, was a boxer and a wrestler. Michael became ill as early as January 21, 1991 after being near Al-Jubayl on the night of January 20, 1991, where three attacks occurred and chemical alarms sounded.
Michael reported to the Battalion Evacuation hospital on January 25, 1991 only to be told he probably had hemorrhoids. He was given motrin. My son was never referred to a surgeon. He had repeated rectal bleeding, rash, severe headaches, raspy voice, and pain in his joints.
Upon return to the States, he, along with many in his unit, was given a very limited physical examination with no chest x-rays, no blood work, and sent on his way. He was told "if you need further medical attention, go to your local VA hospital". Had Michael been given proper diagnostic testing in the Gulf, my son would possibly be alive today.
My son was a very patriotic young man. He loved his country, family, and God. I ask you today: How much did my country appreciate my son. He felt it his patriotic duty to serve in the military. He wore his Army uniform proudly. He was a brave and courageous soldier. My son died a senseless and very painful death. When will I ever get an answer? My jewel is gone forever.
Michael's death bed wish was for me to fight for him and fight for all of his comrades. After this request, a few short hours later, Michael slipped into a coma. He died seven days later.
Our own military and government failed my son and are failing his comrades.
Key Links for Additional Research
1 U.S. Senate, Hearing Before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, United States Dual-Use Exports to Iraq and Their Impact on the Health of the Persian Gulf War Veterans, S. Hrg. 103-900, 25 May 1994, and
Tuite, James J. III, Report of the Fallout from the Destruction of Iraqi Chemical Warfare Agent Research, Production, and Storage Facilities into Areas Occupied by U.S. Military Personnel during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, September 19, 1996, p. 23.
2 Tuite, p. 2, 25.
3 United States Senate, U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual-Use Exports to Iraq and Their Possible Impact on the Health Consequences of the Persian Gulf War, A Report of Chairman Donald W. Riegle, Jr. and Ranking Member Alfonse M. D'Amato of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs with Respect to Export Administration (James J. Tuite, III, Professional Staff and Special Assistant to the Chairman for National Security Issues and Dual-Use Export Policies), 25 May 1994, p. 10.
5 Ibid., p. 17.
7 Tuite, pp. 3-4.
8 Senate, p. 22.
10 Tuite, p. 5.
11 A poisonous substance (toxin) produced by or found in a living organism.
12 An agent that induces blistering.
13 Senate, pp. 23-24.
14 Mutation: A relatively permanent change in hereditary material involving either a physical change in chromosome relations or a biochemical change in the codons that make up genes.
15 Senate, p. 32.
16 Ibid., pp. 10, 23.
17 Ibid., p. 33.
18 A specific causative agent (as a bacterium or virus) of disease.
19 Senate, p. 37.
21 Senate, p. 48.
22 The condition of not having a normal immune system. This may be due to a genetic or disease process or to drugs administered for the purpose of inhibiting or inactivating the immune system.
23 Senate, p. 48.
24 Escherichia coli.
25 DNA prepared in the laboratory by breaking up and splicing together DNA from several different species of organisms.
26 New and not resembling something formerly known or used.
27 Senate, p. 48.
28 An extrachromosomal ring of DNA that replicates autonomously in bacteria.
29 An organism that transmits a pathogen.
30 Senate, p. 35.
31 Ibid., p. 11.
32 General Accounting Office, U.S. Congress, GAO/NSIAD-91-197, Chemical Warfare: Soldiers Inadequately Equipped and Trained to Conduct Chemical Operations, May 1991. Also, GAO/NSIAD-96-103, Chemical and Biological Defense: Emphasis Remains Insufficient to resolve Continuing Problems, March 1996.
33 Senate, p. 5.
34 Senate, pp. 5, 27-28 and Tuite, p. 23.
35 Sidell, F.R., Clinical Considerations in Nerve Agent Intoxication, In: Chemical Warfare Agents, Academic Press, Inc., 1992, pp. 155-194.
37 Koplovitz, I., Harris, L.W., Anderson D.R., Lennox, W.J., and Stewart, J.R., Reduction by Pyridostigmine Pre-Treatment of the Efficacy of Atropine and 2-PAM Treatment of Sarin and VX Poisoning in Rodents, Fundamental and Applied Toxicology, 18: 102-106, 1992.
38 Extract from Preliminary Staff Findings from Drs. Diana Zuckerman and Patricia Olson to U.S. Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, " Is Military Research Hazardous to Veterans' Health? -- Lessons from the Persian Gulf", May 6, 1994.
39 Senate, p. 13.
40 Ibid., pp. 12, 88-96.
41 Ibid., pp. 25-26.
42 Ibid., p. 6.
43 U.S. Senate, Hearing Before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, United States Dual-Use Exports to Iraq and Their Impact on the Health of the Persian Gulf War Veterans, S. Hrg. 103-900, 25 May 1994, p. 92.