Topic category: Other/General
Dear Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (Part 1)
An open letter to Congresswoman Shelley Berkley
Congresswoman Berkley, this is my first of a two-part open letter, in which I would like to bring up two issues (one in each letter). I raise these issues because I believe they have implications for present policy, and thus are not inconsequential.
Congresswoman, I remember reading this interview with you from 2004, after which I couldn't help but feel like Americans and veterans have been betrayed by their government. I would also suggest that if politicians - such as yourself, Congresswoman - have been kept in the dark, then they, too, have been betrayed by their government. As a former Republican, I wasn't tricked, duped, nor deceived by the Bush administration into supporting the Iraq war.
I will never forget during the days leading up to the Iraq war, then-Congressman Christopher Cox was quoted as saying that "there is no evidence" that "any" of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction had ever been destroyed. That view was echoed by the Bush administration.
Congresswoman Berkley, when I heard that, I was ready to do cartwheels. Why? Because I had evidence to the contrary sitting in my own living room. Last time I checked, I don't have special access to information that Congressmembers don't have.
Knowing what I knew, I became sick to my stomach when I heard what the Bush administration, et al., were saying. I had many sleepless nights. Or, to put it another way: I reacted with what the VA, pursuant to its model, would call "mental illness." Anything other than a conscienceless, automaton reaction is "mental illness," pursuant to the VA's methods. But that is a different story.
I did my best to try to share what I am about to share with you - and have already shared with your staff members - with the Congressman who represented me back in 2003. My concerns were totally ignored, reinforcing my belief that the biggest problem facing Congressmembers on the Hill is the Hill. Washington, D.C., is a big, self-contained echo chamber.
Congresswoman, what I am about to share with you has implications for veterans' healthcare. For several years after the first Gulf War, the government - including the Department of Veterans' Affairs - denied that troops had been exposed to chemical and biological weapons. With that being the official story, in what way did this curtail the ability of veterans who had been exposed to chemical and biological weapons to obtain healthcare? This is impossible to measure in quantitative terms.
That was the official story until the video footage of the Khamisiyah bunkers came out in 1997, at which time the government's story flip-flopped in almost-as-a-remarkable fashion as the Pentagon's story here changed to this one the very next day.
The government's new story on the Khamisiyah bunker complex was issued by the CIA with this report. The synopsis is this: the government's "screw up" was confusing the name of the bunker complex, but the government admits that it was cognizant of the Khamisiyah bunker complex the entire time the government denied troops could have been exposed to chemical and biological weapons. Congresswoman, that is treason.
Towards the end of the first Gulf War, troops had been ordered to destroy the Khamisiyah bunker complex, which consisted of football fields full of chemical and biological munitions (not just dual-use, raw materials). Many of these weapons had been made in the United States - a violation of the Geneva Conventions. To this day, the government still doesn't address what, exactly, was inside of those bunkers.
As troops who served in the vicinity were getting sick, the Department of Defense denied the Khamisiyah event ever took place. The Department of Veterans' Affairs - following the DoD's lead - said the same thing. But then when the video footage was released, the government's story morphed into admitting that the government knew of these bunkers all along, but just got the names of the bunkers confused. I thought that this issue had been close-to-resolved in 1997. But fast forward to 2003, and suddenly there was "no evidence" that "any" of Saddam's weapons had ever been destroyed.
My surprise quotient dipped into the negatives long ago. Putting this into perspective, the words of George Orwell come to mind: "He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future."
When this relevant piece of history is excised from the history books by the government, what is the implication for veterans who are trying to pursue treatment and assistance for health problems secondary to this event? An event that, since 2003, supposedly never happened.
Here is the video footage of the Khamisiyah bunkers. This is empirical evidence that the U.S. armed Saddam with chemical and biological munitions.
"A paranoid is somebody who just found out a little of what is really going on." -William Burroughs
Biography - Mark Anderson
Mark served honorably for four years on active duty in the Marine Corps infantry, and was a Libertarian endorsed candidate for a municipal office in 2002. He re-enlisted in the ARNG in 2006 because he was depressed/at times SI without the military. He has held the NFA Series 3 license (futures and futures options broker) which he did a voluntary withdrawal on because he couldn't in good conscience sell managed futures since firms would do better to hire an in-house trader to trade a proprietary account with a discount broker, which he outlined in his well-written withdrawal request. Since the year 2000, he has spent much of his free time reading the great minds of the Austrian School of economics, such as Murray Rothbard, Henry Hazlitt, Ludwig von Mises, et al.