January 13, 2004


I never bought the GWS-from-depleted-uranium stuff, obviously. The science simply wasn't there. Ditto similar arguments about battlefield PCB exposure, alleged to have occurred both in that war and also in Bosnian peacekeeping duties. However I always thought it entirely reasonable that the various prophylactic treatments given Western soldiers on foreign service (anti-malarials, anti-NBC vaccines, etc.) in the early 1990s, which were often at pre-FDA stages of conventional medical approval and never tested in combination with each other, could lead to adverse health effects in a small number of soldiers, in the same way that even the safest vaccines still occasionally kill people.

Of course, particularly with antimalarials and potentially with anthrax vaccine, the cost of not giving them in lives lost could well have been higher. The generally less than hygienic environment (additionally contaminated by oil fumes and at least some NBC traces) almost certainly didn't make anyone in the First Gulf War healthier, either. But it's fair to say that I figured the vast majority of cases from that war, who reported a variety of non-specific and psychosomatic symptoms, were PTSD cases, and should have been regarded as such. (Not that that makes their suffering any less real, but it does bring it back within the realm of what military medical science can understand, and hopefully someday, counter.)

There's an interesting piece today (thanks to Steve R.) which sheds some new light on the minority of cases with readily apparent symptoms that again points in the direction of the "vaccine cocktails" British soldiers going to Saudi Arabia were getting at the time.

Posted by BruceR at 01:13 PM


*Good Iraq analysis, this.

*This is also worth following.

*Our new Prime Minister seems to be doing well in the elephant's bed so far. (Also here.)

*Another Haitian crisis?

*I agree. A backup generator for National Defence HQ would be a good idea.

*Lame duck.

Posted by BruceR at 10:40 AM


"Administration officials also expressed concern about a separate part of Ayatollah Sistani's statement on Sunday that demanded that any agreement for American-led forces to remain in Iraq be approved by directly elected representatives."

--Financial Times. THAT's a new demand from Sistani, who is obviously flexing his power a bit, and is going to be another difficult circle for the Americans to square. In the same piece, also note Kofi Annan's role in completely kneecapping Paul Bremer on this one.

Posted by BruceR at 10:13 AM