Thursday, January 31, 2008

What Might Have Been... Gulf War

The panel discussions on the networks the other night regarding the State of the Union speech had a recurring theme of the “what-might-have-been” quality that will follow the Bush 43 presidency. I feel that if we had done a better job of getting the word out about ALS that we actually could have helped the outcomes of the last seven years.

Before the decision to invade Iraq, there were published studies that showed the astronomical incidence of ALS among veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War in Kuwait. “We” knew that there was something horribly wrong about the health of our veterans of that war.

If “we” had made the ALS-Gulf War connection to register with the President and the Vice-President and the Secretary of Defense, would that have made a difference in their decision to send troops into Iraq? Probably not, but they should have been forced to acknowledge that there were clear and horrible ALS dangers to those who served in the region in the prior decade. If “we” had forced the facts about ALS and the first Gulf War to register with every legislator who was asked to vote to support the invasion of Iraq, would that have made a difference? Maybe it would have. I would hope it could have made a huge difference in their willingness to put our troops on the ground in that region, especially when there was a premise of toxic weapons that could clearly relate to neurological problems. What if we had pulled out all the stops and spread the word?

So, if “we” people who pay attention to ALS had done a better job of spreading the word to the public and to the every legislator and soldier and parent and veterans’ group and diplomat before the fateful decisions that led to the invasion of Iraq, what might have been? “We” must do a better job of spreading the word.

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