Veterans of secret Cold War-era chemical and germ tests on military personnel demanded help from the Bush administration yesterday, but they got no satisfaction. Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department officials said there was no need for legislation to guarantee health care and benefits to the veterans. Thousands were exposed, sometimes without their knowledge, to biological agents, including sarin and VX. The tests, conducted at sea and above a half-dozen U.S. states in 1962-1973, were to see how ships would withstand chemical assaults. Veterans who tried to get help from the VA were "shown the door," retired Navy Reserve Lt. Cmdr. Jack Alderson told the House Veterans Affairs subcommittee on disability assistance, his voice choked with emotion. Administration officials said there was no definitive link between the tests and illnesses, including cancer, now afflicting Alderson and others.
There are tens of thousands of veterans used in Cold War era experiments, 2100 men at Fort Detrick in Operation White Coat the Army did biological experiments from 1953 - 1972 when the US signed the BWTC Treaty after Congress ratified it, the other large scale classified program was run at Edgewood Arsenal and used 7120 enlisted men in chemical weapons, BZ, Sarin and Mustard agents, LSD, PCP, Ecstacy, and many other substances 254 in all, there were many double blind experiments done so that no one will ever know who was used in what experiments and who was exposed to what specifically, the last study done on the Edgewood volunteers in FY 2000 shows a 75% death and disability rate, 3098 presumed dead and 2200 disabled, an excessively high rate for men aged 45 - 65. It is time for the VA to care for these men and their widows.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
courtesy of Larry Scott of VA Watchdog.org
House Vets' Chair: "That shows why you
don't do anything, because you think there's only a few."
Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), Chairman House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
This is Filner at his best.
When the answers don't make sense, Filner comes unglued...and he doesn't care who knows he's angry
Complete information on the hearing mentioned in this article, including a full video, is here...
Story here... http://www.coalingarecord.com/articles/
Military Update: Mental wounds said to raise war casualties tenfold
By Tom Philpott
Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, charged Bush administration officials Wednesday with continuing to downplay the mental trauma and brain injuries suffered by veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Filner said an April RAND Corp. study, "Invisible Wounds of War -- Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery," justifies a tenfold jump in the U.S. casualty count versus the figure of 33,000 American dead and wounded used by the Pentagon.
RAND researchers extrapolated from a survey they conducted of 1,965 veterans to conclude that nearly 300,000 service members and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan wars are suffering from post-traumatic stress or major depression. Filner told the pair of researchers, who had summarized their findings for his committee, that their work probably understates the problem.
"I personally think these are low estimates, just from my own studies," Filner said. "But if you take even the 300,000, (it's) 10 times the official casualty statistics from the Pentagon. Shouldn't this 300,000 be included?"
Lisa H. Jaycox, a senior behavioral scientist and clinical psychologist who co-directed the RAND study, embraced Filner's argument.
"Well, they are (suffering) an injury condition resulting from combat deployment, and so it's a different kind of casualty," Jaycox said. "But, yes, they are very important numbers."
At the same hearing, Michael L. Dominguez, principal deputy under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said RAND had gathered solid data from its survey but then drew the wrong conclusions. The study, Dominguez said, "did not, and cannot, definitively say that there are 300,000 cases of clinically diagnosed cases" of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression among veterans who served in the two theaters of war.
Filner angrily interrupted him, telling Dominguez that RAND didn't claim to show 300,000 clinically diagnosed cases of PTSD or depression. "It was an extrapolation to the possibility" of 300,000 cases, Filner said.
With over 1.6 million U.S. service members having served in Iraq or Afghanistan, Dominguez said, a finding that 300,000 veterans "have experienced some kind of mental health stress is very consistent with our data. And those people do need to be discovered (and) to get help."
But, he continued, "many of them will, with very little counseling or assistance, resolve those combat stress issues themselves. A few -- a few -- will in fact manifest a clinical diagnosis of PTSD and they'll need much more sustained intervention by medical health care professionals."
"How many is a few?" Filner snapped.
The results so far, Dominguez said, show "less than one percent will actually have clinical PTSD that will need treatment over..."
"You believe that?" said Filner, cutting him off with sarcasm. "You believe that there are less than one percent of these deployed soldiers will have PTSD as a clinical diagnosis?"
Dominguez was stunned into silence momentarily but finally managed, "So far this is the number that we are seeing."
"That shows why you don't do anything," Filner said, "because you think there's only a few."
Another purpose of the three-hour hearing, which included testimony from retired Navy Rear Adm. Patrick W. Dunne, assistant secretary for policy and planning for the Veterans Benefits Administration, was to assess progress by DoD and VA in implementing Wounded Warrior legislation passed in January in response to the Walter Reed scandal last year.
Dominguez and Dunne conceded that some congressional deadlines haven't been met, including a late April target for establishing a Wounded Warrior Resource Center to give recovering service members, their families and primary caregivers a single point of contact for assistance.
But Dr. Terri L. Tanielian, co-director of the RAND study, acknowledged to Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) that the Wounded Warrior initiatives have set the Departments of Defense and VA "on the right track" for addressing most war-related mental health challenges.
The big hurdle now to proper care for many mentally wounded veterans is clinical capacity nationwide, Tanielian said. The pipeline for training mental healthcare providers in the most effective therapies for PTSD used by VA needs widening, she said, and that requires "transformation and system-level changes across the entire U.S. health care system."
Filner, meanwhile, wants every service member and veteran who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan to receive a mandatory examination, which should include at least an hour with a clinician trained to detect the symptoms of PTSD, depression and even mild cases of traumatic brain injury.
In his tirade at Dominguez and Dunne, Filner said that, between the two of them, "I think there's been a contest to see who can suck the humanity out of this issue better... I mean, we're talking about our children!
"We're talking about life and death! We're talking about suicides... homelessness... a lifetime of dealing with brain injuries! And you guys sit there without anything to say. This is absolutely unacceptable."
He asked Dominguez if he also disagreed with RAND that 320,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have a probable traumatic brain injury.
"Again," said Dominguez, "you don't have 320,000 brain injuries. You have 320,000 people who have been in or around a concussive event.
"Again, it's a spectrum of experience (versus) a spectrum of need that manifests itself. So, no, there is not 320,000 people out there with brain injuries."
That attitude, Filner charged, encourages clinicians to misdiagnose conditions so veterans are denied the care they need and the compensation they deserve. Dominguez took strong exception to those remarks.
posted by Larry Scott
Founder and Editor
VA Watchdog dot Org
Friday, June 13, 2008
Larry Scott of VA Watchdog.org has posted this link to view the SHAD section of the CBS News on the Congressman Mike Thompson D CA has been pressing the Pentagon for answers about the projects that lasted from 1963-1973. The fact that many of the men have already died and a high percentage of the survivors are disabled, is to easily dismissed by DOD, knowing that given the fact that 40 years has gone by and it is to late to make the necessary studies and medical tests needed to show the links or Nexus from the experiments to the mens present hea;th conditions or deaths.