Congress Moves Big to Protect Toxified Soldiers

As Veterans Day approaches, a gift of some good news. Thanks to a lot of lobbying by members of congress and vet organizations, and backed up by great reporting by the Army Times and by hundreds of personal testimonies and affidavits by individual soldiers and veterans, Congress has passed some tough new guidelines regarding the frighteningly toxic burn pits on our military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. As I wrote about for TAC this month, individuals are returning from war with horrific, unexplained symptoms ranging from chronic breathing problems like sleep apnea to skin rashes, nerve damage, cancer and pulmonary distress. The Pentagon — so far — denies that these symptoms can be traced back to the burn pits, which have been burning in the middle of military installations like Camp Taji and Balad Air Force Base for as long as troops have been overseas and in some cases burn some 150 tons of mixed trash (including medical waste, hardware, chemicals, food, etc) a day.

Thanks in part to reporting by TAC and Antiwar.com, Reps. Ron Paul, R-TX, and Walter Jones, R-N.C, joined Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla., as the only Republicans to co-sponsor the Democratic House bill, sponsored by Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y, which made it through the conference committee and is headed to the President’s desk this week as part of the FY 2010 National Defense Authorization Act.

It includes provisions that will:

  • Prohibit the use of burn pits for hazardous and medical waste except if the Secretary of Defense sees no alternative;
  • Require the Department of Defense (DOD) to report to the congressional oversight committees whenever burn pits are used and justify their use, and every six months to report on their status;
  • Require DOD to develop a plan for alternatives, in order to eliminate the use of burn pits; further, DOD must report to Congress how and why they use burn pits and what they burn in them;
  • Require DOD to assess existing medical surveillance programs of burn pits exposure and make recommendations to improve them;
  • Require DOD to do a study of the effects of burning plastics in open pits and evaluate the feasibility of prohibiting the burning of plastics.

This is definitely a first step – the Bishop bill would create a registry that would track all of the exposed troops, and that measure did not make it into the final legislation. Meanwhile, there is a massive class action lawsuit against KBR, for which soldiers are blaming for their illnesses, and other pending legislation, like the one proposed by Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., most recently. He wants automatic priority health care and benefits for veterans suffering from toxic exposures on the battlefield. We’ll see how that goes over at the DoD.

(cross posted @TAC)

16 thoughts on “Congress Moves Big to Protect Toxified Soldiers”

  1. I guess this is nice. But, I fear that the eventual solution will be to contract disposal of these hazardous and toxic materials to desperate local civilians letting them unknowingly poison themselves.

  2. Part 1:
    An unexpectedly wide-eyed, MSM-esque regurgitation from TAC and Antiwar.com.
    From the bill's bullet points above:
    [i]Prohibit the use of burn pits for hazardous and medical waste [b]except if the Secretary of Defense sees no alternative[/b][/i]
    In other words, burn pits will continue to be used because the SoD will say there are no alternatives.
    [i]Require the Department of Defense (DOD) to report to the congressional oversight committees whenever burn pits are used and justify their use, and every six months to report on their status[/i]
    So in the unusual cases when the DoD tells the truth about using the burn pits, all they need to do is "justify their use", after which they'll need to reiterate to congress that yes, they do continue to use them.

    1. Part 2:
      Require DOD to develop a plan for alternatives, in order to eliminate the use of burn pits; further, DOD must report to Congress how and why they use burn pits and what they burn in them
      So the DoD will "develop a plan" for alternatIVes. Not develop and USE an alternative; just develop a plan. Then when they don't use the plan and continue to use the burn pits, they must tell congress why they do and what they burn in them. Nothing that says congress needs to do anything about it.

      1. Part 3
        Require DOD to assess existing medical surveillance programs of burn pits exposure and make recommendations to improve them
        They're going to improve the medical surveillance programs from denying there's a problem to acknowledging . . . there MIGHT be a problem, then make RECOMMENDATIONS to improve them, if not actually improve them.
        Require DOD to do a study of the effects of burning plastics in open pits and evaluate the feasibility of prohibiting the burning of plastics.
        Allowing the possibility of concluding that it isn't a problem, and then if they DO have to conclude there is a problem, suggest the feasability of prohibiting them is prohibitive.

  3. Part 4:

    No wonder this blog doesn't get many comments anymore!!!!! I won't even bother READING it anymore if commenting is going to be such a hassle.

  4. The Military and Congress are WELL AWARE what most of these illnesses are being caused by and
    they are determined to find a whipping dog, so as not to expose the real truth.
    Since the 1991 Gulf War, their weapon of choice is called Depleted Uranium, because it will
    easily penetrate steel , concrete and anything else. To date, countless thousands of tons
    have been used in our wars.
    Used from shoulder weapons to the largest bunker busting bombs, when each weapon explodes, millions of dust size uranium particles are released into the air, soil , and water.
    Sand storms, helicopter landings and take offs carry them aloft.
    Easily inhaled, even a small number in the lungs can result in lung and a host of other cancers.
    Once contaminated, the DNA of the victims is permanently altered and subject to producing
    minor to extremely defected babies.
    Iraq alone has documented tens of thousands of these medical cases.
    Since 1991, we have cycled close to 2 million troops, contract and government workers into
    Iraq and Afghanistan, ALL subject to exactly what has happened to the residents of our wars.
    Do you wonder why this CANNOT be admitted?

    1. Thanks for bringing that up, Bud.

      The ZOG in the US is as ruthless and calculating as they come. They hysterically (the Jews are very good script writers and play actors) warn us of "Muslim extremists" detonating dirty-bombs in our cities, because "they hate our freedoms!", then turn right around and detonate dirty bombs in Muslim lands! Incredible!

      Everyday, babies are being born in Iraq and Afghanistan with a variety of hideous mutations, as a direct result of the use of DU munitions. All the while the American Sheople go about their daily lives completely oblivious to this gut-wrenching outrage! That's to be expected, I suppose…after all, the Jews totally control the media – and therefore control the minds and opinions of the common man.

      As for the American troops: it seems to be a choice between unemployment, and all the bad things that can come from that, or joining the military and being poisoned, shot, or blown to bits…I'd take unemployment over THAT any day of the week!

    2. Dude, Depleted Uranium is so low in radioactivity that it's comparable to glow-in-the-dark remote control buttons. It's about as toxic as lead. Stupid bad-science conspiracy bullshit.

  5. Why are we even bothering to find a way to make our invasion and occupation "nicer". Rape is rape whether copious amounts of K-Y jelly are used or not. Maybe, if we just let ourselves be beasts, our actions can be seen for what they truly are – inhuman. We are just gilding turds.

  6. Who will protect the people of Iraq ,Afghanistan,and Pakistan,and God only knows who else from evil use of Depleted Uranium Weapons by the US?!

    Dead Babies in Iraq and Afghanistan are No Joke
    Depleted Uranium Weapons

    “But the real impact of the first heavy use of depleted uranium weaponry in populous urban environments will come over the years, as the toxic legacy of this latest American war crime begins to show up in rising numbers of cancers, birth defects and other genetic disorders in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/lindorff10202009.html

  7. The so called shoe bomber,the liquid bombers ,and others were accused of using weapons of mass destruction,but nothing is said of the US government of far worse and deadlier real weapons of mass distruction as if the hundred of thousands killed by its instruments of death and destruction were not massive deaths on very much larger scale!

Comments are closed.