From Paul Rieckhoff’s blog in the USA:
Dennis Gogel was stationed in Balad twice between 2004 and 2006. He said he was in housing just a few hundred yards from the [burn] pit and would often jog past the pit. The 29-year old Gogel said that in the last two years he’s had upper respiratory infections, skin irritation and he’s lost 60 pounds since deployment.
“I have blotchy spots on my face. I was treated for psoriasis, but it won’t go way,” he said. Gogel said his doctors do not know what caused the problems.
Gogel said it has affected his fitness, too. “I used to run two miles in 10 minutes. I am up to 17,” he said. –CNN
Already, seven class-action lawsuits are pending on behalf of troops and contractors who say they were sickened by burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. And at least one servicemember, Air Force Maj. Kevin Wilkins, may have died as a result of the toxic exposure.
These reports are troubling, but they may be only the beginning. For years, the military has been using burn pits to dispose of hazardous waste at its bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. The pits burn everything from dining and maintenance materials to waste from medical facilities. This practice has potentially exposed thousands of servicemembers to toxic air and poor health conditions.
Unfortunately, toxic exposure from the battlefield is not a new issue. Veterans of previous generations struggled for decades to have conditions such as Agent Orange exposure and Gulf War Syndrome recognized as service-connected. For decades, they were denied appropriate healthcare and benefits. Thanks to years of dedicated advocacy, these veterans now finally have the access to medical registries, treatment, and disability benefits they deserve. But our country cannot repeat this same pattern of denial and delay with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
See also here.
Water shortage threatens two million people in southern Iraq: here.
The family of Adam Hermanson, a 25-year-old military contractor who died in Baghdad’s Green Zone on September 1–apparently of electrocution in a shower–is alleging that Hermanson’s employer, Triple Canopy, initially misled them about how he died: here.
- Female Troops Medevaced from Afghanistan at Higher Rate Than Male Comrades (nation.time.com)
- Obama may withdraw all troops from Afghanistan in 2014 (edition.cnn.com)
- Memorial Day Special: U.S. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan Return War Medals at NATO Summit (democracynow.org)
- Bribes, money hidden in teddy bears: welcome to US spending in Afghanistan | Steve Cohen and Michael Shank (guardian.co.uk)
- Cost of Wars In Iraq and Afghanistan (paulrevereandtheaiders.wordpress.com)
- Bring ’em home: Troops might leave Afghanistan sooner than originally planned (thesunnews.typepad.com)