After three American soldiers were taken prisoner by the Serbs, President Clinton sounded tough, giving a speech to military families saying that America protects her own. That was laughable, considering the failure of Clinton to demand a full accounting of our prisoners and missing from the Vietnam War. But another scandal has now surfaced in connection with thousands of our sick veterans from the Persian Gulf War. At this point in this unfolding story, it appears that Clinton’s Pentagon is covering-up the use of our troops as guinea pigs in an AIDS experiment.
Credit for breaking this scandal wide open goes to Insight magazine, which over a year ago reported that blood tests of veterans sick with Gulf War illness contained a controversial and experimental substance called squalene. The use of this additive, which is supposed to make a vaccine work faster and longer, has been associated with various adverse reactions, including afflictions of the immune system. Its use, in short, could account for some of the symptoms of Gulf War illness.
The Insight investigation caused Rep. Jack Metcalf of Washington state to ask for the General Accounting Office, the GAO, to conduct an inquiry. The GAO report came out in March, and it was devastating to the Pentagon. The GAO confirmed that squalene was found in the blood of many of our veterans and it said that squalene is a Apotential contributing factor to Gulf War illnesses. However, the Pentagon adamantly refused to admit that it administered vaccines with squalene on our troops. The GAO didn’t believe them.
The GAO report stated, “Although DOD officials told us they did not administer such vaccines, they stated they did not have documentation on the process and results of decision-making related to the administration of vaccines at the time of the Gulf War. Also, some officials involved in the decisions were no longer employed with DOD at the time of our review, and we were either unable to locate them or they declined to be interviewed.”
At the time of the Gulf War, there were great fears that Saddam Hussein would use chemical or biological weapons on our troops. The Russians, who were close allies of Saddam, were said to have developed a new class of poisons, including the possible use of AIDS as a weapon of war. The DoD still refuses to acknowledge that Saddam used those weapons against us, although it eventually admitted fallout from the allied destruction of some of those weapons could be causing some health problems for our veterans.
While DoD refuses to admit using squalene on our troops, the GAO confirms that the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research used the substance in testing an HIV or AIDS vaccine on people in Thailand. Initially, some of our own sick Gulf War veterans were placed in Walter Reed’s special HIV ward and monitored for AIDS-related symptoms. At this point, it’s just not clear what is happening here. The vaccines could be causing the problems, but it could also be that some of the troops were exposed to chemical or biological weapons for which the vaccines failed.