People in the US like to think of the 1991 war against Saddam Hussein as a sweeping victory, obliterating Iraqi forces while costing a minimal loss of U.S. lives.
But ask many veterans of that war, and they say casualties can’t be measured by the 148 who died or the 500 wounded in battle. In the 12 years since, nearly 164,000 Gulf veterans, about 28 percent of those who served, have been certified by government doctors for service-related medical claims–more than twice the rate of World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
The Veterans Administration doesn’t track how many of those are suffering from Gulf War Syndrome. But the government’s own studies consistently show that up to 30 percent of Gulf vets are sufferers.
Now, as some 300,000 troops await orders to strike Iraq again, a cadre of Gulf veterans worry that the same epidemic of unexplained illnesses threatens a new generation of soldiers. And, perhaps, their children.
- Steve Robinson, Executive Director of the National Gulf War Resource Center.