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November 1, 2005

A win for Gulf War veterans

Topics: Health Issues

The MoD has been reluctant to recognize a set of symptoms that is termed Gulf War Syndrome. However, as a result of a landmark case the British soldiers who have suffered from Gulf War Syndrome are set to have their disease recognized (maybe).

This seems to be a familiar tale for war veterans. They carry out their duties, and they take a lot of risks for their country. However, when they return and they have illnesses that are associated with their duties the MoD or DoD, depending upon your country, are reluctant to acknowledge that the set of symptoms are associated with that service.

This is the case for the soldiers who did a tour of duty in the Middle East during the Gulf War in 1991. As a result of innoculations, or perhaps having been sprayed by chemical weapons (the cause is not all that clear), in Britain at least 6000 soldiers were affected with a set of symptoms known as Gulf War Syndrome.

One man took his case to the Supreme Court in Britain and he has won his case to have his set of symptoms recognized as being associated with his war service. This is a landmark case for others who have suffered a variety of symptoms, including chronic fatigue.

In the past soldiers have had to battle with the Veteran's Affairs of their various countries to have similar symptoms recognized as being a result of war service. For some, they had cancer as a result of their exposure to radiation when Britain experimented with the A Bomb in Maralinga Australia. The airmen were simply told to turn their backs to the explosion. They were not offered any proper protection and they had to fight hard to get their radiation related cancers recognized. The Vietnam veterans have also had a similar fight to have their symptoms recognized.

One would think that Government (Australian, British, American etc) would be willing to do more for their war veterans but over and over again this has proved not to be the case.

At least with this landmark decision other Gulf War Veterans will be able to push to have their claims recognized. The least that the British Government can do is recognize that these veterans have a set of symptoms that resulted from their tour of duty in the Gulf region.

Posted by at November 1, 2005 12:50 AM

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