Mr. and Mrs.______________
Dear Mr. and Mrs.__________:
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding "Gulf War Syndrome." I appreciate hearing from you on this very important matter.
As you know, since the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War, many veterans returning to civilian life and military duties have increasingly complained of a variety of illnesses that have been difficult to trace to a single source. The reported ailments include headaches, muscle and joint pain, loss of memory and other more serious illnesses.
In 1996, I joined the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee; the only member of Washington's congressional delegation to serve on the committee with jurisdiction over veterans programs and issues. Since joining the Committee, I have spent a significant amount of time on the issue of possible chemical and biological exposures during the Persian Gulf War. Like you, I am extremely frustrated by the government's handling of this matter.
Since the Persian Gulf War, the federal government -- particularly the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency -- has failed to provide our Gulf veterans with adequate information about exposure to chemical and biological agents. Sadly, the government possessed information prior to the Persian Gulf War about certain Iraqi weapons depots that could have spared U.S. personnel from potential exposure to chemical and biological agents. The government has lagged in providing important care to our vets and in conducting timely research to pinpoint the causes of assorted Gulf War illnesses.
Rest assured, I will continue my work on this issue. The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee is expected to conduct additional hearings on this issue soon. Due to a request that I made, the committee came to Washington state to hear directly from our veterans in early August. Those individuals who served our nation in the Persian Gulf deserve not only sufficient care, they must be provided with answers to questions about the origin of "Gulf War Syndrome."
Again, I appreciate your taking the time to contact me. Please don't hesitate to stay in touch on this or any other issue of concern.
United States Senator
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