A new Newsweek report claims former
VA chief of staff John Gingrich is linked to the initial Gulf
War chemical weapons cover-up as an Army battalion commander in
The Newsweek report claims Gingrich not only knew of the side
effects from US troops’ own demolition of chemical weapons, but that
he also was ordered to cover it up by his superiors and did so.
Gingrich later went on to oversee one of the
most scandal heavy periods at VA in modern history as chief of
staff, a position the appears to be little more than a promotion for
a job well done in the Gulf [sic].
However, the report does not touch on
Gingrich’s role at Veterans Affairs (VA) under former Secretary Eric
Shinseki after retiring from the Army.
Would you like to know how much Gingrich and
Shinseki knew about the sarin gas cover-up now being exposed? Under
them, the agency went through great lengths to maintain the DOD
cover-up by even interfering with research on Gulf War Syndrome.
I think we all see the trend in our society
and in government. Those who are “yes men” rise to the top and screw
everyone else. Will this ever change? Perhaps it will change if
America is concerned with losing its competitive edge both in the
military and in the marketplace.
Newsweek reporter Barbara Koeppel blew the
hole in a two decade long lie claiming our Gulf War troops were not
exposed to dangerous gas from chemical weapons we destroyed. We now
know more than 200,000 American troops were exposed to nerve gas and
other chemical agents.
Despite full awareness of what occurred, DOD and CIA
launched a campaign of deceit that continues to this
day. Troops nearest the explosions are dying from
brain cancer, lunch cancer, and other chronic
diseases at significantly higher rates than normal.
Initially, DOD claimed no troops were exposed. From
1997-2002, that number shot up from 5,000 to 99,000.
And now, we are looking at more than 200,000 were
How is it that DOD, CIA and VA believe they can
deceive the American public in our name? Why are the
puppet masters not held accountable? What do you
think we should do to right the wrong? Mandatory
100% ratings? One time monetary payout?
One of the
men connected with the cover up went on to run the
operations of the same agency charged to care for
the troops when the became sick as veterans,
recently departed chief of staff John Gingrich. But
in the Army, he was known as Col. Gingrich.
There, as a commander, he was told to downplay
the symptoms following the demolition of rockets that contained
sarin gas and other chemicals. What follows are some excerpts from
the Newsweek article that highlight Mr. Gingrich’s connection to the
cover up and its scope:
"Elledge was on a team setting C-4 plastic
explosives at Khamisiyah, one of Iraq’s largest
weapons sites. “We used timed fuses, which gave
us 10 minutes to get a half mile away,” he said.
“But even at that distance, the smoke was
terrible. And we were sent back in to make sure
we got everything. The officers never told us
the old rockets were filled with sarin, so we
didn’t wear any protective gear.”
Before the demolition, DOD was clear that they
were destroying chemical weapons, but reports about the destruction
soon disappeared after troops first got sick.
"Jim Bunker was a lieutenant with the First
Infantry Division who had trained as a
demolition expert. He told me that “before the
DOD blew up the ammunition, it sent papers to
the battalion officers and intelligence people
with clear markings to help them identify
chemical weapons. Then on March 2 or 3, the DOD
sent the ordnance disposal team to verify which
chemicals were there. We don’t know what they
found, because once the troops started
demolishing them and getting sick, the reports
Gingrich was told to cover up the exposures by
claiming the sickness was caused by heat even though the temperature
was only 85 degrees.
"Bunker said that when troops first became
ill, his battalion commander, Col. John
Gingrich, radioed headquarters to find out what
was happening. He was told: “It’s the heat.”
“We knew this wasn’t true,” Bunker said. “It
was only 85 degrees, and we’d trained in over 100 degrees—without
people getting sick like this.” The next day, division commander
Maj. General Thomas Rhame and Col. Michael Dodson came to their
base. “They told Gingrich to be quiet about the men’s symptoms,”
After retirement, Gingrich went on to manage the
overall operations of the Department of Veterans
Affairs under Secretary Eric Shinseki. He later
resigned following a number of scandals that plagued
the agency during his tenure including
outrageous spending on conferences.
the DOD, CIA and VA lie?” asks reporter Koeppel. I
know this is the question many Americans are
probably wondering. Further, how long will it take
to right the wrong.
According to former CIA analyst, the answer to
“why” is clear:
“If you’re DOD, you’re
admitting your policies
contributed to the veterans’
illnesses. If you’re the VA,
you’re admitting you don’t know
how to treat the vets. If you’re
the CIA, you blew another
estimate and that’s not
something you want on your
Maybe. Perhaps we are dealing with inter agency
pride at the root of the failure. Regardless, what
will America do now that we know they are lying?