Recently, the VA officially recognized several diseases that are affecting soldiers who were deployed during the 1991 Gulf War.  On the surface this sounds to be great news, but, unfortunately, the VA has a history of creating false hope:

In 1994 and 1998 there was a major push for Gulf Research, health care and benefits legislation.  In both instances the VA fought against the entire list.  (Even when the laws were eventually passed, the VA still fought against these benefits.)

Congress and veteran advocacy groups were forced to aggressively pursue the VA in an attempt to have them create the mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses. (It eventually took the VA four years to create this group.)

VA managers intentionally refused to notify approximately 15,000 Gulf War veterans of a law that increased access to benefits and health care.

In the past, the VA staff has manipulated the Institute of Medicine scientific research reviews to not allow for certain types of studies to be included for consideration of veteran's health care and benefits. In one instance, the VA removed lab animal studies that showed a link between depleted uranium (DU) and birth defects and cancer.

The VA has also canceled Congressionally mandated contracts for Gulf War illness research at the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW), and continues to fight against important research that would help us to further enhance medical treatment related to veterans who are victim to toxic exposures.

Let's hope that the VA does the right thing in this instance.

James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller
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