Ex UK defense head urges payout for ill Gulf war veterans

news3.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-07/22/content_1625739.htm

www.chinaview.cn 2004-07-22 01:53:28

LONDON, July 21 (Xinhuanet) — A former British chief of defense staff on Wednesday urged the British Ministry of Defense (MoD) to compensate ill veterans of the 1991 Gulf War.

“It is time for the MoD to accept that they have not been able to disprove that the individual’s illnesses is not Gulf-service related and to compensate and apologize to those that have been kept waiting far too long for satisfaction,” Lord Craig of Radley,chief of the defense staff in 1991, told an independent inquiry into the “Gulf war syndrome” in London told the three-week inquiry.

Lord Bramall, chief of the defense staff from 1982 to 1985 andGeneral Sir Peter de la Billiere, who commanded British forces during the Gulf war, also gave evidence to the inquiry that aims to take evidence from 30 ex-servicemen, medical experts and government representatives to establish the facts about Gulf war illnesses and resolve the long-standing dispute over their causes.

Thousands of British veterans say they have suffered from unexplained ailments including kidney pains, memory loss, chronic fatigue and mood swings. They blame the cocktail of tablets and vaccinations they were given to protect them against nerve agents,anthrax and botulism.

Exposure to Depleted Uranium munitions has also been identifiedas a possible cause of the illnesses.

However, it has never been accepted that the illnesses have a common cause arising from the Gulf war, meaning that hundreds of veterans have not been able to claim compensation.

The British government, which funded several studies of Gulf war veterans, has always denied the existence of the so-called Gulf War syndrome and has not agreed to hold an inquiry into the illnesses.

The MoD maintains that the illnesses are so varied that there can be no distinct syndrome or a specific cause.