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Friday, May 10, 2013

VA Whistleblower Ignites Firestorm Over Vets’ Illnesses

Dr. Steven S. Coughlin talked about many issues our veterans face including suicide and the lack of proper care. This is what they come home to. This is what some of us already assumed but now with his testimony, we know how much worse it all really is.

Taking care of our veterans and giving them the best possible treatment is not a political thing but it is the right thing. Remember what Washington said and ask yourself if we are even coming close to living up to it.
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, is directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated" -- George Washington
VA Whistleblower Ignites Firestorm Over Vets’ Illnesses
Epidemiologist says VA hid and manipulated data regarding burn pits and Gulf War syndrome
American Conservative
By KELLEY VLAHOS
May 10, 2013

It’s not every day that a scientist creates such intense drama on Capitol Hill.

But Dr. Steven S. Coughlin’s charges that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials hid, manipulated, and even lied about research pertaining to Gulf War Illness (GWI) and health problems plaguing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are still causing fallout a month after his stunning testimony before a key House subcommittee.

“The implications of his testimony are profound,” declared Anthony Hardie, 45, a Gulf War veteran who serves on the congressionally appointed Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses (RAC).

Veterans and their advocates, as well as many in the scientific community, have long believed that the VA avoids responsibility for veterans’ care by downplaying or outright ignoring evidence linking wartime experiences—such as exposure to Agent Orange, chemical weapons, or toxic pollution—to veterans’ chronic medical issues back home.

Coughlin, a senior epidemiologist with the VA’s Office of Public Health (OPH), gave the VA’s critics what they say is a smoking gun: after conducting major surveys of 1991 Gulf War veterans and “New Generation” veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan, Coughlin told the committee he quit his post in December. He claims the VA is hiding important survey results about the health of veterans and that his colleagues watered-down analysis that might have shed light on whether recent vets got sick from open-air trash-burning pits on overseas bases.
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