In Growing Iraq Chemical Exposure Scandal, Hagel Orders Unofficial Inquiry
Nov 17, 2014
Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) November 17, 2014 – Last month, the New York Times reported that a number of U.S. troops were denied medical care for their exposure to Iraqi chemical weapons due to government concerns about secrecy.
The affected troops, who were exposed to mustard and other nerve agents, were told to keep their exposure and injuries a secret — even from their doctors — as a matter of security. The exposure occurred during discoveries of stockpiles of old weapons.
The U.S. government has not given any official response to the report, but insiders claim that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has asked military chiefs to look into the matter.
“Most veterans understand that some information must be kept secret for security reasons,” commented veterans’ right attorney Jim Fausone. “But the idea that the military could not find some confidential way for these soldiers to be treated for their injuries just suggests a basic lack of human concern.”
The Times uncovered evidence that at least six troops were wounded by direct exposure to chemicals from old Iraqi weapons stockpiles. In five of those cases, the weapons that caused the harm were American-designed and manufactured by Western companies. The Times suggested that this may have been one of the reasons for secrecy.
“As with the VA scandal, a fear of embarrassment has taken precedence over the health and well-being of the members of our armed forces,” said Fausone. “It’s hard to understand how this keeps happening. Government agencies need to work much harder at developing a soldier-first culture.”
The ongoing cover-up may date as far back as 2004. Media coverage has revealed up to 20 troops who were directly exposed.
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