Gulf War syndrome: WMD delivered by ‘friendly fire’?
Pat Tillman‘s death last spring in Afghanistan is a reminder that there may be different kinds of friendly fire—not to mention different kinds of weapons of mass destruction.
The sore point of Tillman’s death by friendly fire was rubbed raw anew by Steve Coll‘s two-part probe that began in Sunday’s Washington Post. (See Morning Report 12/5/04 in the Bush Beat for details.)
Of course, we’re assuming that WMD is a dead issue—dead as in thousands of deaths since March 2003 for nothing. But I’m talking about the first Gulf War. And so is Gary Matsumoto, whose book Vaccine A: The Covert Government Experiment That’s Killing American Soldiers and Why GI’s are Only the First Victims gets a fresh look in the latest rendition of the interesting U.K. website nthposition. As reviewer Mark Greener explains:
In Vaccine A, Matsumoto suggests that an anthrax vaccine could be responsible for many, if not most, of the symptoms of Gulf War syndrome.
Talk about a WMD! And this vaccine, administered by the U.S. military, may have been simply well-intentioned—or was it part of an experiment? There’s a lot of murk in this area. Not everyone is convinced by Matsumoto’s thesis. Gulf War syndrome remains largely unexplained.
Check out the Vaccine A blog site, where there’s a colloquy between Matsumoto and another reviewer of his book. Also see Military Ink for another review of the book.
Greener concludes in nthposition that conspiracy theorists can have a field day with this stuff, particularly by recalling the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiments, in which 400 poor black people in Alabama were allowed to get sicker and sicker and even die, just so scientists could study them—from 1932 all the way up to 1972. (Check this Wikipedia page.) Experiment, accident, whatever, Greener writes, something bad has happened to the health of thousands of vets of Daddy Bush‘s Gulf War:
In the U.K. alone, some 6,000 veterans claim to suffer from Gulf War syndrome. The armed forces received numerous drugs and vaccines that, the sufferers claim, triggered a diverse range of unpleasant and sometimes debilitating symptoms, such as aching joints, sore muscles, weight loss, hair loss, short-term memory loss and headaches. In a new book, investigative journalist Gary Matsumoto places the blame for many Gulf War syndrome symptoms on unlicensed vaccines. If he’s right—and he presents some compelling circumstantial evidence—the first Gulf War could emerge as this generation’s Tuskegee.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 6, 2004