2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 30 Dec 2002 17:30:00 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] The Fallout of War
The Fallout of War
Iraqi Ammo Debris Fell on Jim Stutts in '91. In Many Ways, He's Being
Pelted Still.
By Richard Leiby
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 30, 2002; Page C01

The doctor sits at home, filling the hours with television, writing
himself reminders that look like prescriptions. "From the desk of Dr.
James Stutts," says his notepad, itself a reminder that he practiced
medicine until, one day, he knew it was no longer safe. He could not
remember faces and names.

Before he retired, Lt. Col. Stutts commanded medical staffs on military
bases. He used to helicopter into combat zones to treat the wounded. He
still keeps his Army uniform pressed and ready, as if someday he might
return to duty.

He is 54 and disabled by dementia. He is a casualty of the Persian Gulf
War -- one of the tens of thousands of men and women who left feeling
healthy but fell sick after coming home. They filed disability claims at
a rate far higher than veterans of other wars.

As the United States deploys troops in anticipation of another battle
with Iraq, the Pentagon says it still has no answer for an enigma that
has confounded experts for more than a decade: What caused all those
Gulf veterans' symptoms? The memory lapses, fatigue, joint pains,
rashes, headaches, dizzy spells . . . not to mention the cancer, Lou
Gehrig's disease and birth defects.

Many vets speculated that they were poisoned by a combination of
vaccines, pesticides, oil fire pollution and other battlefield toxins,
including chemical and biological weapons stockpiled by Saddam Hussein.
For years their maladies weren't taken seriously: It's stress, it
happens after every war and it's all in your head, the military doctors

Stutts and his wife, Carol, believed as much. They doubted reports of
this so-called Gulf War Syndrome. But by 1996, the doctor himself could
no longer work. He suffered limb spasms and seizures that made him fall
down stairs.

Bracing himself on a cane, Stutts deposits a pile of medical records on
the kitchen counter. One file contains images of his brain. "It's like
Swiss cheese," he says.

Here are notices from the Pentagon, saying he may have been exposed to
the nerve gas sarin in the Persian Gulf. Here, too, is a recent
determination from the Department of Veterans Affairs, ruling Stutts
fully disabled and citing "neurotoxin exposure" during his deployment.
Now he is a patient at a VA clinic in nearby Lexington, where 100 Gulf
War vets -- most in their thirties and forties -- are being treated for
symptoms of early Alzheimer's.

It's all evidence of . . . something. After 11 years, the VA and
Pentagon no longer dispute that troops got sick. They've spent hundreds
of millions of dollars studying why.

With his medical training, Stutts understands that good science takes
time and hypotheses must be rigorously tested. But as a patient, he has
reached certain conclusions.

"I'm not the same person as I was when I left." And: "I would have
preferred to have stepped on a land mine than to be exposed to what I
was exposed to over there."

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