SOURCE: NPR - It's All Politics (Liz Halloran)
Following is a heavily abridged version of the original story. Read the excellent, fully story at the link above.
The potential for U.S. military involvement in Syria is striking a nerve among many veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, where more than one in three veterans remain disabled with Gulf War Illness, likely the result of chemical exposures and genetic factors.
To date, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has failed to develop a single proven effective treatment for Gulf War Illness. Last year, the federal body charged with overseeing the federal government's research efforts blasted VA with a "no confidence" report, followed by a scathing Congressional hearing in March 2013 where a VA top researcher-turned-whistleblower reported VA's research leaders slant research to not find issues among deployed troops and cover up findings of deployment health issues.
Rather than address the serious underlying issues, VA Secretary Shinseki decided to take on the goals of entrenched, anti-veteran VA staff as his own, retaliating against the messengers and gutting the RAC oversight body's mission, charter, and staffing mandate, and announcing plans to replace its chair and members. Despite substantial criticism from the press and Congress, Shinseki has failed to address any of the issues.
Perhaps while Obama is cleaning up illegitimate regimes overseas, he might consider walking across the street from the White House to do the same at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.