Many Veterans that apply for veterans disability have Gulf War service and have related gulf war veterans disabilities. Unfortunately, a related veterans disability committee was gutted. VA secretary Shinseki has reportedly cut the budget of a vital gulf war illness research panel. He has also limited the independent nature of the panel. Previously the research panel was independent of the VA, but now the panel will be partially replaced by regular VA rank and file.
Retaliation by VA Secretary?
Unfortunately, it appears that Shinseki is acting in retaliation to a prior ‘no confidence’ vote by this board . The VA may have mislead the public on research on gulf war syndrome that may have led to more VA benefits for veterans. Unfortunately the board is being reduced, the chairman is being fired, and the scope of the committee is being reduced. A 2008 report by this committee concluded that gulf war syndrome is a physical as opposed to a mental condition. Many Veterans with these disabilities suffer from both, and this will affect their VA disability benefits. They also found that gulf war syndrome is caused by toxins, such as sarin, anti-nerve-agent pills and insect repellents that many gulf war veterans were exposed to. It appears many at the VA are resistant to these scientific findings. Any reduction in the independence of this scientific committee is a serious blow for this research.
While its by far an objective or scientifically based opinion I have seen much resistance by the VA in terms of paying benefits to Veterans with gulf war syndrome. This problem has also been expressed by fellow Veteran advocates. This is a disconcerting trend since the science seems to indicate that these illnesses are a direct result of chemicals and pollutants that were pervasive in the gulf war region.