VA To Rule Against Nerve Gas-Illness
Sent: November 03, 2000 12:54 PM
To: Bruce K. Melson
Subject: VA To Rule Against Nerve Gas-Illness Connection
VA To Rule Against Nerve Gas-Illness Connection
NGWRC Denounces Decision, Plans Lawsuit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 2, 2000
Contact: Patrick G. Eddington (301) 585-4000, x162
(Washington, D.C.) - The National Gulf War Resource Center has learned that
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Hershel Gober will deny service-connected
compensation to Gulf War veterans exposed to sarin nerve gas, despite a
recent Institute of Medicine finding that such exposures were as likely as
not to have impacted the health of ailing Desert Storm veterans.
"The VA has chosen to ignore both available scientific evidence, the will
the Congress, and the legitimate health concerns of Gulf War veterans,"
Patrick G. Eddington, NGWRC's Executive Director. "Secretary Gober has
us no alternative but to seek legal redress in the courts."
The National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine released a report on
September 7, 2000 that showed a potentially positive association between
exposure to sarin and the health problems plaguing ill Gulf War veterans.
This positive association crosses the statutory threshold set out in 38 USC
§ 1118 (b)(3): "The credible evidence for the association is equal to or
outweighs the credible evidence against the association." The standard is
not the criminal standard of "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" or
litigation standard of "preponderance of the evidence." The "as
not" standard mandated under PL 105-277 is the remedial intent of the law
passed by Congress in 1998.
Eddington noted that successive administrations-Republican and Democrat-had
failed to deal openly and honestly with Desert Storm veterans and their
concerns about the health effects of various toxic exposures on the
battlefields of Kuwait and southern Iraq.
"The Gulf War Syndrome tragedy began under the first Bush administration.
has been perpetuated and exacerbated under the Clinton-Gore administration.
Veterans and their family members will undoubtedly take these facts into
account when casting their votes on November 7."
According to Eddington, NGWRC will explore filing a lawsuit to compel the VA
to provide appropriate compensation to Desert Storm veterans known or
suspected to have been exposed to Iraqi chemical agents and other toxins
during and after the Gulf War.
"We will not rest until our veterans receive the medical care they need
try to rebuild both their bodies and their lives," Eddington said.
The National Gulf War Resource Center is a nonprofit advocacy organization
serving the needs of the military and veteran communities.