Archive for the ‘chemical weapons’ Category

Gulf War illness is real, new federal report says

November 17, 2008

An extensive federal report released Monday concludes that roughly one in four of the 697,000 U.S. veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War suffer from Gulf War illness.
That illness is a condition now identified as the likely consequence of exposure to toxic chemicals, including pesticides and a drug administered to protect troops against nerve gas.

The 452-page report states that “scientific evidence leaves no question that Gulf War illness is a real condition with real causes and serious consequences for affected veterans.”

By Alan Silverleib

A U.S. soldier wears protection against chemical weapons during the Gulf War in a February 1991 photo.

A U.S. soldier wears protection against chemical weapons during the Gulf War in a February 1991 photo.

The report, compiled by a panel of scientific experts and veterans serving on the congressionally mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses, fails to identify any cure for the malady.

It also notes that few veterans afflicted with Gulf War illness have recovered over time.

The report, titled “Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans,” was officially presented Monday to Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Peak. Noting that overall funding for research into Gulf War illness has declined dramatically since 2001, it calls for a “renewed federal research commitment” to “identify effective treatments for Gulf War illness and address other priority Gulf War health issues.”

According to the report, Gulf War illness is a “complex of multiple concurrent symptoms” that “typically includes persistent memory and concentration problems, chronic headaches, widespread pain, gastrointestinal problems, and other chronic abnormalities.”

The illness is identified as the consequence of multiple “biological alterations” affecting the brain and nervous system.

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Vietnam pledges efforts for chemical weapons-free world

April 20, 2008

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam will join other nations to fulfill the commitments to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in a bid to build a world free of chemical weapons and for the sake of global peace, security and development.

The Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the OPCW, Ambassador Ha Huy Thong, made the promise at the second special session of the OPCW to review the operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) over the past fives years that convened in The Hague, the Netherlands, from April 7-18.

The diplomat spoke highly of the roles played by the CWC and the OPCW as well as efforts and coordination of member states in disseminating and implementing the convention.

Participants shared the view, saying the CWC has proved as a universal and effective multilateral disarmament instrument and the number of member states has increased to 183 from 151 over the past five years.

The conference was told that some 38 percent of the declared chemical weapons have to date been destroyed and the rest is expected to be phased out by 2012.

Many delegates called for more endeavours in participating countries and increased cooperation amongst the OPCW, international organisations and members to effectively fulfill the convention and prevent chemical weapons from falling into the hands of warring parties and terrorists.

The delegates, who came from more than 120 member nations, observer countries, international and non-governmental organisations, also pushed for the strengthened cooperation in using chemicals for peace and development purposes.

(Source: VNA)

Missile Defense: Save the Airborne Laser

August 5, 2007

James T. Hackett
The Washington Times
August 5, 2007

For years, missile defense opponents claimed defenses could not distinguish warheads from decoys and other penetration aids. The solution, they said, was to stop missiles in the first two or three minutes of flight, known as the boost phase, before warheads and decoys are released.

The Missile Defense Agency is trying to meet that challenge with the Airborne Laser (ABL), the nation’s primary boost-phase program. But this year, the congressional armed services committees made deep cuts in that program. Those cuts should be reversed.

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