TESTIMONY SUBMITTED for the Record to Senate VA Committee in September 2007
I post it again to trigger Discussion from all! I also post it because since January of this year 2009 I have been asking for JOINT HEARINGS OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE VA COMMITTEE or at least for the SENATE VA COMMITTEE TO GET FULLY VESTED IN THE ISSUE OF GULF WAR ILLNESS 1990-91.
I spent the last week in DC again, I made visits to all the Senate Democrats that sit on the Senate VA Committee except for Rockfeller(whose staffer will be following up with me because she honestly did not have time), Senator Akaka(because I have been dealing with the Senate VA Committee he heads and if I had gone to his office they would probably just direct me to the Committee Office anyway), Senator Burris(Junior Member because I honestly ran out of time and will follow up with him and the Republicans on the committee by phone call and emails).
I focused strategically and tactically on the Democratic Party Senators on the Committee ie Senate VA Committee because the Senate VA Committee has not been fully engaged on the Gulf War Illness issue while the House VA Committee has been!
I stress that first we need Joint Hearings of both of these Committees House and Senate. I have heard the House is willing but the Senate says they dont do that. That they do their joint hearing to hear from THE MAJOR VSO’s Legislative Agendas only.
I point out to them this is why we still have not resolved the Gulf War Illness 1990-91 Issue because the effort has become disjointed, without unified support and directions, and clear paths of what one side does and what the other side of the Hill does.
I have asked my Colorado Delegation in DC to assist me and I have staffers that are in tune and doing just that.
I am asking that all veterans join me in making this happen or at the least Senate Hearings of Senate VA Committee. Senators will be home in their offices shortly, schedule adjornment for August in DC is August 10th! Time for Veterans and supporters to get posters ready and walk the walk in front of their 2 Senators Home offices in August!
Carry Posters and be respectful, notify your home state media, carry posters about Matt Letterman as an example of 100,000s of Gulf War Veterans of 1990-91 that have not gotten their claims successfully through the VA after 19 years of the invasion of Kuwait Aug 1, 1990! You can do it without travel and expense to go to DC!
Refer the senators and media to www.tractordc.blogspot.com
We must get Gulf War Illness 1990-91 fully on the agenda to help those that follow us re OIF/OEF and to make way for them and their claims. WE REFUSE to be Abandoned or Forgotten!
WALK THE WALK VETERANS AND ALL SUPPORTERS!!!
Testimony of Montra Denise Nichols, Major, USAFR(ret)
Vice Chairman National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition
to the United States Senate Veterans Affairs Committee September 25, 2007
Hearing on Gulf War Veterans Illness Research
Thank you Senators for having this important hearing today related to Gulf War Illness and Research for the Gulf War Veterans of Operation Desert Storm 1990. It has been since 2000 since your last hearing on this issue. During the intervening 7 years, some small progress has finally been made in getting research moving in the right direction. It has been too long in coming and a major effort is needed starting now to make up for lost time. No progress has been made in improving the health of ill veterans.
The majority of us are still waiting for definitive diagnosis and any effective treatment for our exposures. There is an overwhelming desperation that has developed year by year. We veterans feel betrayed and abandoned. We are angry at the lack of truth, accountability, and responsibility from our government.
This is a National Security Issue because the way veterans are treated when they return directly has and will reflect on armed services recruitment. Funding for a war and the aftermath of exposures in war should be considered as a total. Needs of veterans of exposures in war are not to be considered as an after thought!
I am not a constitutional lawyer but a citizen, former nurse, and affected gulf war veteran and this is how a majority of gulf war veterans view what has happened: We have seen this pattern through the years both from the Democratic and Republican Party and this has to stop now. Section 8 of the Constitution states clearly one of the duties of congress is to “raise and support Armies and militia”.
There are a lot of appropriations and authorizations that occur that are not called for in Section 8 and Veterans that have been exposed to hazardous toxins should not have to beg and fight their own government for years and decades after exposures in war! Our needs should be addressed as the priority not as an afterthought or not to be balanced and compete with items not covered in Section 8 of the Constititution!
As of the May GWVIS report from the VA we have 212,867 claims have been granted out of 696,842 that served in combat in Operation Desert Storm. This figure is getting close to 1/3 of the force. We have more than 175,000 with gulf war illness than the VA study picked up. We also have 13,517 veterans that have died according to the GWVIS data. WE the veterans are concerned if this count is accurate because it does not match the statistics in their own report (GWVIS) of the number that have served and the number of estimated living veterans.
These are not just numbers these are human beings that served and put their life on the line. Today I am handing in to you the obituaries we have collected, this three ring notebook containing 800 pages of 1,473 have been researched over the last 6 months and we have thousands more that we are currently working on using a rigorous process of verifying and posting using copyright guidelines. We do not have all of them but what is interesting is to review the age of death and one can see clearly something is definitely wrong and we needed help from the time of exposure.
One of the Gulf War Veterans that died this month is Colonel DR Gil Ramon. Colonel Gil Ramon had five degrees, served in law enforcement in Wichita, KS as the youngest person at the time to attain the rank of Sergeant in the Sedwick County Sheriff’s Department, served as the Assistant Vice President for Academic Administration at the University of Northern Colorado from 1975-1977, served as the Regional Director of the Denver, Colorado office which covered a six-state region served as an undersecretary in the Department of Education, served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Operations, in Washington, D.C, named Executive Director of "The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans", served as Deputy Commander of the 311th Evacuation Hospital, Army Medical Service Corps, Operation Desert Storm, where he served as Chief of Operations, U.S. Army Central Command, the Persian Gulf. Colonel Roman provided administration and operations guidance in the administration of a combat filled hospital (400 bed augmented).
He was a remarkable person, when he testified before Representative Shays’ committee he did not let a massive nose hemorrhage that occurred while he was testifying stop him, only Representative Shays could do that by ordering a break in the hearing so that he could get it under control, clean up, and then continue his testimony. But most of all he and I were a team trying to help our fellow veterans of the gulf war in Colorado by doing whatever we could including writing white papers for our Colorado delegation and candidates for office.
He was my friend and I dedicate my testimony today to him and all of these hundreds of thousands of dead and living but injured veterans. I include his obituary as an attachment to represent one of tens of thousands of our lives that are no longer with us. His private cardiologist later wrote: "What is clear is that he [Colonel Roman] served in the Middle East and that he was a cardiomyopathy. I would submit that this may well be part of the Gulf War Syndrome."
Our Special Forces commander in Desert Storm died in July, General Wayne Downing, his death is connected because of immune system deterioration from exposures that is happening to all of us. I ask you how long do we wait. How many must pay with their lives and their quality of life before full attention and funding to fight these deadly exposures.
This is the biggest black mark on our country ever! It is the largest post war casualty and morbidity ever in the history of this country! It has been worse because of policy and delay and denial techniques employed by all in the government that started with the atomic veterans and has continued through over 50 years. This is the same government that we veterans swore to defend! Everyone from the President to the Congress to the DOD and the VA from the past years has not shown the leadership and commitment that we deserved.
If you are going to fund the continuing war then you must fully fund the needs of the veterans, we refuse to be an after thought or disposable GI’s. We also believe you should consider this war that started with us in Operation Desert Storm and has continued through Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom as one. You must address all legislative needs of Operation Desert Storm as you address the current troops and veterans.
Our voices are united in that point. We also fully believe that Veterans of Agent Orange, Atomic Veterans, Anthrax vaccine veterans and Project Shad fall within the same domain of Environmental Exposures. What we find thru our push to breaking science in medical research for diagnosis and treatment will reach backwards as well as forwards.
It has been 16 years almost 17 years since our health was affected in Operation Desert Storm. One of the initiatives that we as veterans and advocates have started is the website www.honorthenames.com. It is a shame and disgraceful that the VA can not provide the basic death data that we have asked for to include Name, Rank, Unit assigned, Age, and cause of death to be on a public registry online.
At least if this data was available patients, doctors, nurses, and researchers could be more informed and possibly be more aggressive in follow up for our living veterans whether it be more focused efforts to screen for cancers, cardiac, or renal problems. I recommend this become a legislative effort to make this into a bill and then into law. Included in this bill would be a mandate that death certificates list if the deceased was a veteran and what war or time period they served. Currently many states’ health departments would only know if the deceased was a veteran if a VA file number is indicated we need this uniform across all 50 states.
If we can publish the names of those killed in Iraq then we should have the same for veterans that served at the beginning in Operation Desert Storm. If the VA can not do this, then write a bill/ law that the Social Security Administration will do it. It is not appropriate to wait for periodic death mortality studies when this information can be of clinical significance.
If we have a higher rate of automobile accidents then this should be investigate and information given to veterans and their family members. The memory problems, cognitive problems and vision problems impact on auto and truck drivers and also pilots.
On the same subject of data sharing we need data on all diagnostic codes be it ALS, MS, Seizures, all types of cancers, cardiac, renal, liver disorders from the veterans health care data for the gulf war veterans at a minimal of annually again to be on the VA website open to all to review for the purpose of providing data that could show trends that need to be monitored for all gulf war veterans in the clinical setting whether by the VA or civilian health care providers.
Having been a practicing nurse, patient educator, critical care provider, and educator I know this data would be useful not only to health care providers but to the patients. This data would be as useful as the patient family history and past medical history in evaluating a patient’s health risks that all health care providers use in educating and screening patients for other medical conditions that are likely to emerge.
The veterans have already started unofficial registries by online email groups for MS, ALS, Parkinson’s, Cancers, Cardiac problems, and for Anthrax vaccine reactions, so we ask the VA to do these things (public registries on all of these and more) when they don’t we as veterans will lead. We need the diagnostic codes occurring by age group, units assigned (if possible), and what it compares to in civilian population data by age group.
This would also trigger researchers in those areas to pursue potential connections whether it is exposures or potential treatment or diagnostic tests that need to be evaluated. Please consider this an identified legislative issue to be enacted by a congressional bill/law.
I include data that we obtained from within the retired/deceased VA physicians on Cancers that were occurring in the early years after Operation Desert Storm that shows 4 cancers that were occurring at an elevated rate from the normal population expected occurrences.
In addition to this listing Congressman Upton had gotten a listing from the VA in the mid 90s on cancers occurring in the gulf war veterans. This is critically important data that needs to be shared to all. Knowing that these cancers have occurred alerts the patients (our veterans) and doctors (both VA and Civilian) to do earlier screening and testing to catch cancers in the earliest stage which is needed for fast treatment to save lives!
By following through on these two efforts we might possibly identify the diagnoses that need to be included in Presumption of Service Connected for Operation Desert Storm Veterans. In addition the veterans of the gulf war would appreciate a bill that identifies ALS, Brain Cancers, and possibly MS as Presumption of Service Connection be introduced and passed. We don’t want simple VA regulations but we want laws that back those up. Therefore all VSO’s, doctors, patients and their family members will know these conditions are recognized!
If needed GAO (scientists/officials) could be utilized again to collect the data and report on the above concerns on deaths (ages, cause of death) and on diagnostic codes to the Congress. The Gulf War Veterans believe that GAO reports on the whole are more balanced and complete than what we are seeing through the IOM studies.@ The IOM studies have proven to be almost useless and to very little benefit to the Gulf War veterans.@ This procedure/policy of using IOM as an arm of the VA to deny help and assistance to veterans needs to be the focus of a full Senate Investigation.@
I propose a change be made for veterans, basically data that is data on diagnosed illnesses by Diagnostic code could be compared by data on the same diagnostic codes in the general population by age groups.@
When we experience above the normal population there should be no delays or intermediate steps to connect and compensate the veterans for those diagnostic codes and conditions.@@The intervening compounding factor is simply a war exposure that triggered the disease. Finally the veterans would receive the benefit of the doubt with no delay that further impacts the lives of the veteran, the quality of their lives, and the impact for the families of the veterans.
Congress needs to review the process that is occurring at the IOM in relation to Gulf War illness and exposures. This has been testified to before in front of Representative Shays Committee in Nov 2005 and no effective action has occurred. This is not what the gulf war veterans expect of congress, to leave issues that have been identified to not be investigated and corrective action taken for over 2 years. This is simply unacceptable!
Since the last Senate Hearing during 2000 on Gulf War illness some hope of progress has been made. But hope is not enough! The VA RAC GWI was finally implemented years after the law requiring it was past.@ This is not acceptable and directly relates to policy of delay and denial that we have seen from all parties since 1991.
The 2004 Report of the VA RAC GWI finally slowed down the misdirecting of research money to Stress Psychological Studies of Gulf War Veterans. That took 12 years to accomplish, there are still efforts to downplay Gulf War illness as psychosomatic or stress and pushing gulf war veterans to psychological visits away from medical internal medicine, immunology, and other clinics. This is how policy and research impacts actual care and treatment of gulf war veterans. I believe this is due to the physicians at each VA hospital not receiving adequate knowledge of what was being done in congressional hearings or information withheld by the DOD on exposures. Training and updates of all the work that has been done is the responsibility of the VA Central Headquarters i.e. Environmental Agents i.e. Mark Brown has failed in his job.
There is still a policy in place at the VA headquarters or higher that is interfering with providing what the Gulf War Veterans of Operation Desert Storm and those with reactions stemming from anthrax vaccine actually need in regards to diagnosis and treatment. Training of physicians and health care providers and sharing of all data is a central leg of our stool to reach better diagnosis and treatment of desert storm veterans in the VA health care system or in the civilian health care system.
This has been and continues to be the most neglected area that affects Operation Desert Storm Veterans and potential civilian casualties that may still occur in the current War.@ Some one or several@need to be fired!@ Policy from the Top down needs to be changed now not in 50 years when we are dead or when an attack occurs on civilians within the US (which has happened already re WTC health effects).@ Truth, Responsibility, Accountability, and the best Training and Resources are what the Active Duty, Guard, and Veterans stand for and give their lives for in service to our country.@ It is a@travesty that our Presidents, Congress, and all departments do not give that to us.
We ask that you mandate and call for a change of White House Policy, VA policy, and DOD policy now. It is will pass time that roadblock of denial and delay be completely removed publicly. The policy change will benefit our nation and not only our veterans.
The VA research money is now being sent to the Dallas Collaborative center and this is because for years we watched@the VA@continue to fund research that was not focused in the right direction even after 2004. Studies that were on multiple year programs needed to be stopped but that was not done. WHY? The answer is because there was not a thread of oversight from the Congress or hearings! Money was misspent that we needed desperately to make the breaking research that would impact clinical care for us gulf war veterans.
We are happy that the UTSW medical will now be a VA Collaborative Center. This effort is where the research for the long term effort to a potential cure will be placed. This is the long term approach but it needs input and oversight. Besides their plans to nail down the best neurological imaging/ diagnostic testing more needs to be done. They must submit there plans for spending the money and other areas they will be investigating. This must be documented in a very public manner on a website with a forum for researchers and veteran patients to input their concerns and suggestions.
The other stool leg needs to be addressed re the DOD funding on gulf war illness that disappeared in 2001 except for 5 million in FY06. The DOD Congressional Directed Medical Research Program has proven to us to be a place that can coordinate the needs of the Gulf War Illness Research. This program is the really stabilizing leg.
Through using this program Researchers that are in and out of the country that can not be funded through the VA funds due to requirement of VA employment time can become involved and help us solve the problem. An example of the problem that was faced is when Dr Paul Greengard a Nobel Peace Prize nominee in neurology was turned down for funding by the VA Research. He had stopped his busy schedule to respond to the need of gulf war illness research. If the DOD CDMRP program had been in place then it would have been able to meet the need.
The DOD CDMRP would be high gain, high risk for breaking science that relates more directly to diagnosis tailored to potential exposures that need DOD collaboration i.e. DU, anthrax vaccine, nerve agent exposure, and other hazardous exposures singularly and in combination. The treatment modalities that could be developed using the same type initiative that we use to fund weapon development from theory to rapid field use could be employed to make the rapid short term progress we need.
That is why 30 million annually is needed in that area. Both to fund hypothesis developed/driven research and invited research efforts for diagnostic breaking science and treatment options. Initially I was skeptical of this program but after participating as part of the Scientific Merit Review Committee for studies that were submitted and I am now convinced that this is a workable system since it includes consumers of the illness as part of the CDMRP panels.
Through this effort we can truly bring in the best minds of this country and other countries to find answers now. As I stated earlier we have large numbers ill and DYING and for 16 years this effort was misdirected and did not serve the needs of a large group of ill combat theater veterans exposed to a hazardous environment, questionable medical practices, and a major misstep in policy when we returned ill and simply asked for the medical care we earned by serving our country. Yes there is a desperation that has been there since the start that has built over time as the quality of our lives have been affected to the point that many of our careers have been terminated, our ability to live normal day to day life has been significantly deteriorating, and too many have died.
I would like to place in the official record videotapes of the Montel Williams show “Dying to Serve” and the Discovery channel’s recent program on Gulf War illness where they tested 5 veterans using a Chromosome Sky Testing that was developed and used at 3-4 medical universities (1998-2000) to show that the veterans are definitely damaged in much more severe ways than has been seen in any condition before (articles submitted as atchm). Dr Urnovitz’s work in the mid 1990’s showed RNA problems with the gulf war veterans. This is the cutting edge diagnostic markers that are currently available and are not being utilized. In fact, the University that tested the 5 individuals has already experienced efforts to not make these tests available.
Similar to what has occurred during the best test on DU in urine and squalene antibodies testing in individuals that received the Anthrax vaccine during Operation Desert Storm. The policy needs to be changed now. The standard that we have to reach i.e. the goal posts keeps changing because of these policies. It is time these diagnostic tools are used fully to help the gulf war veterans seeking answers and treatment for 17 years! Interfering with scientist and doctors is an example of implementing bad policy decisions. This practice is detrimental to our very lives and to future potential civilian casualties and is against our constitutional rights and individual rights and must be stopped.
Every month we see breaking science news that could be used in Gulf War Veterans ill with Gulf War illness. I am enclosing attachments that review several of these new approaches to be considered by the DOD for invited research proposals for Gulf War illness. With every research proposal, the DOD should stress that universities should consider their cost factors that range from 40-60% and lower this factor if at all possible to encourage that more research can be done to benefit our gulf war veterans with their assistance. The DOD officials should understand that we demand a tiger team approach including expert consultants on every research proposal in order to streamline the research in regards to time to completion and plans for clinical implementation.
If we can do this for weapons development and troop protection, we should have same approach for gulf war illness. The DOD and the VA Collaborative Research centers must involve clinicians i.e. Doctors, Nurse, Pharmacists, Lab experts, etc in the total process in order to have their inputs and also to speed the transition of research findings to clinical usage in the most timely manner. All proposals should consider ways in which more interactions and sample collection can occur from all VA hospitals. Methods making it possible for more veterans across the nation to be directly involved should be considered.
Other areas that are being neglected in research on impact of gulf war illness are in the areas of vision changes, dental changes, viral evaluations, Cardiac implications, renal implications, and Liver implications. Some of these areas could blend clinical input from actual testing in the VA hospitals and then correlating the findings and submitting the final findings as Clinical based research.
The VA needs to ready the clinical areas to put new diagnostic tests and treatments in place. The VA needs to implement the request by the VA RAC GWI for a Clinical Advisory Committee for Gulf War illness. If the VA does not do this within 30 days after a new Secretary of the VA is in place then Congress must come forth with a bill and fast track it to a law. The integration of research findings into clinical practice at the VA has to be preplanned. The VA should be mandated by Congress to produce this plan to the Veterans Affairs Committee of the House and Senate within 60 days. Congress must respond by holding a hearing as soon as this plan is ready.
This should start with a new training and research sharing program. An excellent way to do this would be to set up teleconferencing the VA RAC GWI presentations on Research Reviews and Researcher presentations that occur at the VA RAC GWI. The VA headquarters should implement video taping of these quarterly meetings for distribution to each VA hospital and mandate the health care professional viewing as professional development and training. The plan should also address the need to set up a Gulf War Illness task force at each VA hospital to include physicians, directors, health care professionals, and gulf war veterans. VA should update all their training documents on Gulf War Illness. VA Researchers and physicians should be offered the opportunity to attend the VA RAC GWI meetings in person. Publications of the VA RAC GWI need to be covered in the VA Newsletters on Research and Clinical Areas.
Their should be a plan to bring the Gulf War Veterans that registered through the registries to be brought back in for screenings for cancers, new diagnostic tests, and sharing of current research findings and research projects materials should be included in these sessions. These updates need to be available to gulf war veterans being seen at the VA at each appointment. By having physicians and nurses involved in providing this information all concerned parties will be fully involved and aware of what is occurring on the research for diagnostic modalities, biomarkers, and treatment trials. The VA needs to reestablish its Gulf War Illness Specialty Centers keeping in mind they need to be geographically located in each VISN. The 2 War Related Centers being on the East Coast close to each other needs to be reevaluated because referrals are not happening and these centers must be strategically located across the US to better serve the Gulf War Veterans with Gulf War illness.
The VA should also consider training at least one physician from each VISN in accordance with the Anti-aging board certified program and the American Environmental Training program. Both of these programs have had physicians on the civilian side of the house treating gulf war veterans. I would be more than willing to get the VA in contact with former military doctors that are involved in these two specialty areas that have offered their expertise to assist since the early 90’s.
The research proposals for treatment should also evaluate IV vitamin, COQ10, glutathione combinations that some gulf war veterans have found as relief in dealing with their illnesses. In addition chelating treatment that has been used with nuclear plant workers need to be evaluated for use with gulf war veterans that are testing positive for DU. Also Dr Montoya’s use of Valganciclovir in Chronic fatigue patients with viral infections needs to be a treatment trial for gulf war veterans.
Many of our gulf war veterans have never received complete blood work up studies that are available from Dr Vjordani’s lab in California or Dr Berg’s Hemex lab in AZ.
These two labs have found treatable conditions in our gulf war veterans that have gone to the outside civilian world to get answers. It is strange to me that Dr Vjordani’s lab was recognized by the VA as outstanding but they have not utilized it in any form to get blood work done on repository samples and samples from current Gulf War Veterans seeking answers and care at the VA hospitals nationally.
Dr Berg’s lab did the initial sample study and paper on hypercoagulation (a treatable condition) and yet the VA has not utilized that lab or the knowledge on a treatable condition in Gulf War Veterans. This is particularly upsetting to me as a gulf war veteran nurse because answers are out there and VA refuses to accept the answers.
I am enclosing a number of medical news items that have appeared in the last 6 months that need follow up and possible invitations to be part of the researcher invited program of the CDMRP program. A great deal of research in the field of MS is available and treatment trials are there that should also include gulf war veterans but this has not happened.
In addition there are 2 articles that I am including that need to be reviewed by Congress. One out of Los Angeles concerns stonewalling by the VA regarding cancer surveillance that is affecting the state of California collection of cancer data that could effect on the national data on Cancer. The other article concerns the millions of serum sample of Gulf War veterans at the DOD Repository and how they are running out of space and are seldom used by researchers to find answers for gulf war veterans. Both of these items need follow up by Congress now.
I also have a large file on current research abstracts concerning Depleted Uranium that I am making available to the Congress. I include as an attachment my written testimony from a previous house hearing to cover my own personal experience as a gulf war veteran.
Now I have covered a three legged stool in my testimony but to make that stool really solid to stand on we need the fourth leg and that is our elected leaders of this country the Congress and the Executive Branch of Government. I have already stated the problem we have experienced due to policies of our government and lackluster effective action. Now for my final comments/suggestions to you.
I have asked the Committee staff to consider other experts to bring forward to testify. I believe the most important would be to have the preventive medical team sent into theater to finally testify to the Senate VA Committee of what happened in theater and since on gulf war exposures.
In fact I would offer a suggestion to have joint hearings of the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees to cover Gulf War Exposures and Directions in Research and Clinical Implementations needed for Gulf War Illness.
It is past time for this to occur! You have had General Powell and General Stormin Schwarzkopf appear years ago but the team that had the designated duty to set up medical care in theater has never been brought forward! Before we lose them to death like we lost General Boomer, General Downing, Colonel Roman and others please consider this as a priority now. Their information could help all of us! They were the ones after the gulf war that briefed the pentagon why not have them brief the Senate?
I have also mentioned to the committee other medical experts that need to testify before you so that the information on medical treatments that are available can finally have the attention through this committee to be evaluated fully. We respectfully ask that the Senate VA Committee have more hearings to cover this issue fully. There have been too many gaps and time periods that the Gulf War Illness issue lost your attention and focus that is so needed. As I said we were sent off to the maze of IOM studies just like previous wars i.e. Agent Orange and effective action led from the Congress has been lost!
We are in a period of amazing medical research that could benefit gulf war veterans to a better quality of life but leadership is needed from the Hill and the Executive Branch.
WE can make a difference for others to follow and possibly the civilians’ ill from the WTC exposures give us that opportunity and the resources needed please.
I have asked the House Veterans Affairs Committee and now I will ask you the following questions:
Will you have faith in us the veterans and those civilians as doctors and researchers and members of the VARACGWI that have committed to help to listen and hear us? Will you commit to putting the full weight of this government and its resources to this task finally? Will you listen and implement our requests? Will you follow thru with oversight on implementation? We veterans that have been in this struggle since after the gulf war, 17 years ago, have led by ideas, suggestions, actions, and continual pleads to you our elected representatives and Senators. Please do not abandon us. Please provide us prompt and effective medical care and compensation.