It has been 17 years since the United States fought the Persian Gulf War. In that time, thousands of cases of ‘Gulf War Illness’ have surfaced without so much as an acknowledgment of the armed services’ role in their conditions. With controversy surrounding the very idea of the affliction, the government has taken no real action to address the issue affecting so many of its loyal veterans. Seventeen years is far too long for veterans to suffer with no resolution in sight.
Nearly 350,000 veterans who served in the 1991 conflict have reported some illness related to their service, according to the Gulf War Veterans Association. The suspected cause of ‘Gulf War Syndrome’, according to recent reports, is the preemptive drugs U.S. soldiers were given to defend against the threat of Iraqi chemical weapons.
Regardless of whether the illness actually owes its existence caused by the actions of the Army, the U.S. government has delayed addressing this issue, even after studies like the commission headed by Boston University School of Public Health Associate Research Dean Roberta White found it played a significant role in their sicknesses.
The government must own up to whatever actions may be responsible for the illnesses of these ex-servicemen and women. It is already too late to help thousands of veterans who are dealing with building and more severe health problems as a result of the non-treatment they found at the hands of the government. But immediate and meaningful action is the only answer for the rest of Gulf War veterans. It’s time the U.S. government took care of the individuals who have given selflessly for their nation.