Continued negligence and denial on the part of the Department of Defense infuriates the some 250,000 veterans suffering from the debilitating effects of Gulf War Syndrome. At a recent rally in Flint, Michigan last month, veterans of the 1991 war shared stories and discussed all-too-similar symptoms, including fatigue, weight loss, joint pain, and a variety of gastrointestinal disorders. In some cases, the symptoms of this mysterious malaise are so intense they’ve left sufferers wheelchair-bound and suicidal.
“The neurological damage is very real” says V.A. hospital physician Dr. Morgan Antoinette. “These aren’t symptoms of some vague or psychosomatic experience,” she continues. “Our veterans were definitely exposed to something biological while overseas and these symptoms are the result.” One sufferer, veteran Charles Wyatt Evans, says the illness has left him unable to work and, recently, unable to even walk. “I’m 31 years old,” says Evans, climbing from his wheelchair to his couch with the aid of a cane. “My body shouldn’t be shutting down this way. I want answers. I want to know why.” But the ‘why’ remains elusive as tight-lipped officials at the DOD maintain these symptoms lack sufficient evidence to be declared a true illness.