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Author: TriSec    Date: 01/17/2017 10:55:53

Good Morning.

Yesterday was a remarkable anniversary.

On January 16, 1991, coalition forces went over the berm and invaded Kuwait in the first Gulf War.

We've been there ever since.

Think about it - it's been 26 years. That's not an insignificant amount of time. Just for me - in 1991 I was 25 years old. I hadn't even met my future wife yet. Never mind imagining the things I'm doing now. Of course, there are some constants - I was still a Scouter, but with my youth troop at 61 Saugus - I was still living in nearby Revere in those days.

So it seems appropriate to see what those 26 years of "We are always at war with Eurasia" hath wrought.

As always, this comes to us courtesy of our friends at Antiwar.com, although this is only the total from our second go-round beginning in 2003:

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 4497
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 4351
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3631
Since Obama Inauguration (1/20/09): 260
Since Operation New Dawn: 66

But add to that the 145 killed and 294 wounded the first time.

We recently looked at the Cost of War for another reason, so instead we'll review one of the most vexing and long-term consequences of Operation Desert Storm, which would be the mysterious Gulf War Syndrome.

A prominent condition affecting Gulf War Veterans is a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems.

VA refers to these illnesses as "chronic multisymptom illness" and "undiagnosed illnesses." We prefer not to use the term “Gulf War Syndrome” when referring to medically unexplained symptoms reported by Gulf War Veterans. Why? Because symptoms vary widely.

Military service connection

Gulf War Veterans who meet the criteria below do not need to prove a connection between their military service and illnesses in order to receive VA disability compensation.

VA presumes certain chronic, unexplained symptoms existing for 6 months or more are related to Gulf War service without regard to cause. These "presumptive" illnesses must have appeared during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations or by December 31, 2021, and be at least 10 percent disabling.

These illnesses include:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a condition of long-term and severe fatigue that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other conditions.
Fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread muscle pain. Other symptoms may include insomnia, morning stiffness, headache, and memory problems.

Functional gastrointestinal disorders, a group of conditions marked by chronic or recurrent symptoms related to any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Functional condition refers to an abnormal function of an organ, without a structural alteration in the tissues. Examples include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia, and functional abdominal pain syndrome.

Undiagnosed illnesses with symptoms that may include but are not limited to: abnormal weight loss, fatigue, cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, headache, menstrual disorders, neurological and psychological problems, skin conditions, respiratory disorders, and sleep disturbances.

Despite it fading from the headlines long ago, every now and again it bubbles back up for a retrospective, or sometimes a human-interest story. And it's not just US veterans affected, as this story from the Daily Mail illustrates:

A man found dead at the bottom of the White Cliffs of Dover was a Gulf War veteran who had tried to sue the Army for racism, it has been revealed today.

Scott Enion, who had demanded £100,000 from the Army after claiming he had been bullied relentlessly for seven years, had travelled 300 miles from his home in Manchester that day.

The former soldier, 45, was one of three bodies found at the bottom of the cliff that day after police discovered two twins, 59, understood to have been from the Elton area of Cheshire.

Friend feared that Mr Enion was suffering from Gulf War Syndrome and claimed that the Army had bullied him to the brink of suicide but his case was thrown out by a judge.

An ex-colleague told The Sun: 'Scott was a great soldier, a great man and a great friend.

'He suffered a lot as a result of his time in the Army but his abuse claims were never dealt with successfully. We are gutted to lose someone like him.'

Looking to the future, there's less hope for optimism now than at any time since January 17, 2001. (you can do the history check.) Two years after HIS inauguration, we were whole-hog back in Iraq, and we even added Afghanistan.

I can hope that the next guy is going to be so focused on undoing domestic policy that he won't have time for overseas affairs, but the world has already significantly destabilized since election day - who knows what Friday will bring?

58 comments (Latest Comment: 01/17/2017 23:49:41 by Scoopster)
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