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November 4, 2004
Gulf War Syndrome Caused By Sarin Exposure: Researchers

The BBC reports that researchers working for the VA have determined that Gulf War veterans complaining of unexplained chronic illness have neural damage that indicates chronic, low-level exposure to sarin -- a possible explanation for Gulf War Syndrome:

The New Scientist journal has reported a leak of a US inquiry into the ill-health of veterans of the 1991 war. The US Department of Veterans Affairs' Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses is due to publish its findings next week. But the magazine said researchers have found neural damage consistent with the nerve agent used by Saddam Hussein.

The link is said to have been "crucial" to a change of heart by the US authorities over Gulf war syndrome.

After over a decade of denying a single root cause, and a lack of evidence of such, the US government will finally concur that the Gulf War vets have a specific war-related illness, one that can be diagnosed and hopefully treated. It may change the commonly held belief that Saddam never deployed chemical weapons against US troops during the first Gulf War, although the BBC offers another plausible explanation:

After the fighting was over, a large chemical weapons dump was blown up, creating a plume of gas, which would have contained sarin and which could have affected at least 100,000 allied soldiers, possibly far more, the New Scientist said.

I personally find that rather unlikely. Coalition forces specifically looked for Saddam's chemical weapons after the collapse of Iraq's defense in February 1991. Explosive ordinance demolition teams do not just blow up weapons -- they carefully inventory them first to ensure they don't do precisely what the BBC suggests. Could they have missed something, or could Saddam have purposely mislabeled them to keep them from detection? Possibly, but in the former case we had people who knew what to seek; in the latter, if the weapons were kept that well hidden, how could they have deployed them in battle?

The BBC report notes that coalition chemical-weapons monitors generated many false alarms during Operation Desert Storm. I would bet that some of those alarms weren't as false as first thought.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 4, 2004 5:56 AM

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» Gulf War Syndrome Cause Probably Found from Diggers Realm
The New Scientist is reporting that after extensive studies by researchers at the Veterans Administration, the cause of Gulf War Syndrome has been possibly traced to exposure to Sarin gas. According to leaks of a report, which is due to... [Read More]

Tracked on November 4, 2004 6:41 AM

» Researchers say Gulf War Syndrome Caused By Sarin from
Captain's Quarters blog reports that Researches seem to believe that Sarin Gas is responsible for the Gulf War Syndrome. The BBC reports that researchers working for the VA have determined that Gulf War veterans complaining of unexplained chronic ... [Read More]

Tracked on November 4, 2004 8:37 AM

» Gulf War Syndrome caused by exposure to nerve gas? from The Shape of Days
Captain Ed is quoting a BBC report that links the mysterious collection of symptoms commonly referred to as "Gulf War Syndrome" to nerve damage caused by exposure to low levels of Sarin nerve gas. He also bounces around a couple [Read More]

Tracked on November 4, 2004 9:05 AM

» Beltway Traffic Jam from Outside The Beltway
The daily linkfest: Michael J. Totten hopes Bush's first act with his new mandate will be a repeal of Jane's Law. "Captain Ed" Morrissey points to a new finding of Sarin gas in Iraq. In 1991. Wrechard shows that Kerry would have won in based o... [Read More]

Tracked on November 5, 2004 11:09 AM

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