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Thursday, June 20, 2013

VA Responds -- Not to Gulf War Veterans -- But Via Press Release


VA has provided a new response of sorts to Gulf War veterans' concerns about VA gutting the independent RAC oversight panel -- not with the courtesy of a response to the letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki from all the Gulf War veterans on the RAC, but by press release.

Here's the link to VA's puff piece.  Feel free to post your own comments to VA:  

http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/9644/our-sustained-commitment-to-care-for-gulf-war-veterans

And here's my response, which I posted at the time shown below.  Let's see if VA censors it.

For those who haven't read the RAC's "no confidence finding", here it is.  Just quickly read the first 2-1/2 pages, unless you want more detail: 

http://www.va.gov/RAC-GWVI/docs/Committee_Documents/CommitteeDocJune2012.pdf 

-A.H.

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Your comment is awaiting moderation. 
Actions speak louder than these flowery words.
Last year, the RAC (on which I have served as an ill and affected Gulf War veteran since 2005) issued a finding of, “no confidence in the ability or demonstrated intention of VA staff to formulate and execute an effective VA Gulf War illness research program.” VA has yet to fix the many serious issues identified in this report, including the whitewashing of this first ever Strategic Plan, which had been aimed at solving Gulf War Illness prior to VA staff whitewashing.
It is also notable that VA can find the time to write press puff pieces like this one, but cannot find the time to respond with any substance to each of the many points raised in a joint letter of concern to Secretary Shinseki from all the Gulf War veterans on this RAC panel.
Actions speak louder than words: VA to date has no proven effective treatments for Gulf War Illness, and with its failed research efforts, is not on track to ever do so. And it is notable that essentially all of the positive treatment-focused research findings that’s been newsworthy in the last couple of years is non-VA, funded through a non-VA Congressionally directed medical research program at the behest of us ill Gulf War veterans.
VA leaders must wake up and get it right — and recognize that several entrenched VA staff are part of the problem, or get out of the way for others who can.
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1 comment:

Peter Greene said...

My comment left on the VA's response:


Peter Greene says:

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

June 20, 2013 at 5:58 pm

I am an ill Gulf War veteran. It has been a long 23 years since I put my ass on the line for the US Government. 23 years later I am still sick and getting sicker.

This article mentions many milestones of VA achievement but I’m still sick. The VA has been accused of quashing research showing that Gulf War Illness is a neurological disease. If this is true, then the VA is guilty of inflicting years of pain, suffering, financial hardship and, in far too many cases, death. We are told that the VA is investigating the VA to determine the truth of these allegations. I have no faith in an institution that (allegedly) purposely ignored or quashed research that could have helped us. You can bet I wrote my congressmen and both Committees on Veteran’s Affairs to stay on top of this internal investigation. I have been assured by Sen. Bernie Sanders that this oversight will be vigilant.

Sec. Shinseki has now lashed out and gutted the one program that ill Gulf War veterans have counted on. How is this effective? Not that it matters, I suppose. VA just ignores what they don’t want to hear from the RAC. Ignoring dedicated research scientists just doesn’t make sense.

It has been 23 years and I am still sick.

And getting sicker.

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