The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

VA Research on Soldiers’ Illnesses—Only if the Results Are Convenient to US Army

Feb 5, 2001

Asaf Durakovic, a retired colonel and doctor of nuclear medicine, found evidence, while working for the Veterans Administration Hospital in Delaware, that Gulf war veterans had illnesses that could be linked to the use of depleted uranium. He found uranium 236 in more than 60% of the ill Gulf veterans he examined. In other words, radiation which came from weapons is permanently lodged in the veterans’ bodies and may cause leukemia or other problems. At first, the VA discouraged his research. But eventually, the VA simply abolished his position, so that he could no longer do the research. A VA spokeswoman said, "We did not need a full-time nuclear medicine physician."

What nonsense–exactly when all the evidence is pointing to serious illness tied to radioactivity, the VA gets rid of the main person researching it.

The VA has been denying responsibility for veterans’ illnesses for many decades. In the 1950s, the U.S. army used soldiers as guinea pigs to test the effects of nuclear explosions. It was not until the 1990s when they finally admitted the dangers, after most vets from that era were dead. In the 1960s and 70s, the U.S. army dropped tons of Agent Orange to defoliate Viet Nam of its plants and trees. Then the VA denied for years that this poison could impact the health of U.S. soldiers, while babies born to U.S. vets serving in Viet Nam and to the Vietnamese who suffered these attacks showed terrible mutations. In the Gulf war, the VA has denied responsibility so far for veterans’ illnesses. Yet at least one third of Gulf war vets show some kind of disability connected to the service.

When the U.S. armed forces advertise to recruit soldiers, they talk about adventure, careers, education, benefits and patriotism. They don’t say to young people, "We will send you to kill women and children with weapons that will harm your health as well!" They don’t say it, but it’s what they do.