Gulf War Syndrome

Here is the chronology of events that lead to the current Gulf War Syndrome:


  1. Iraq invades Kuwait, 'Desert Shield' begins.
  2. U.S. warns of Iraq's military and chemical, biological and nuclear weapons capabilities.
  3. 'Desert Storm' begins. Troops invade Iraq and Kuwait, and return Kuwait to it's former rulers, in one of the shortest wars on record.
  4. Troops return home and begin to complain of unusual symptoms.
  5. Gulf War Syndrome is discovered.

This page is provided courtesy of:

The BioFact report


Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Iraq invades Kuwait

When Iraq invaded Kuwait, the United States government acted quickly. Ships were dispatched to the Persian Gulf and oil prices shot up as an oil embargo was placed against Iraq. The U.S. Government told us that Saddam Hussein was poised to invade the neighboring countries, including Saudi Arabia, and the worlds oil supply was threatened. George Bush launched operation "Desert Shield" in which a coalition of many nation's armies gathered in the deserts of Saudi Arabia bordering Iraq and Kuwait. We believed the threat to Iraq's other neighbors was real and demanded immediate action!

Public support for "Desert Shield" was tremendous. George Bush enjoyed some of his highest popularity ratings. The threat of Iraq's army to the world's oil supply was rarely questioned, though Russian spy satellite photos contradicted the reported threat. The cover-up of Russia's satellite photos was determined to be one of the Most Censored News Stories of 1991 by Sonoma State University in it's annual report on censorship. This was just the beginning of U.S. deception surrounding the Gulf War.

U.S. warns of Iraqi weapons

Iraq boasted the worlds 4th largest army, topped off with the fabled "Republican Guard", Saddam Hussein's elite battle-hardened troops. It was widely know that Iraq had used chemical weapons on Iran during the Iran-Iraq war and had used them again to crush uprisings among the Kurds of northern Iraq. Chemical weapons "sensors" were installed at military bases in Saudi Arabia. Troops, news people and Israelis drilled on what to do in the event of a chemical weapons attack.

The hysteria surrounding the threat of chemical weapons was contagious. The chemical weapons "sensors" produced frequent false alarms, that occasionally led to panic. Complete investigations of the many false alarms failed to produce any evidence of chemical weapons, but troops, news people and Israelis donned their gas masks at every false alarm. It was believed that Iraq's "SCUD" missiles might include chemical weapons in addition to standard explosives, but no such missiles were ever found.


  • Why was Saddam holding back?
  • Did he have missiles capable of delivering chemical weapons? If he did, he managed to keep them well hidden after the war. Not until June 10th, 1998 was there any evidence of missiles capable of carrying chemical weapons. The evidence was found among the ruins of weapons sites by inspectors, but no evidence has been found of such weapons being used. Some Iraqi missiles may have had VX nerve gas, a chemical deadly in even very minute amounts.
  • Did he have an even more insidious weapon, perhaps a biological weapon? If he did, no evidence of such a weapon has been acknowledged by UN weapons inspectors in Iraq. High ranking defectors from Saddam's army claim that he was stockpiling Anthrax, a deadly biological agent.
  • Did he have nuclear weapons capabilities? All the evidence to date indicates Iraq was working on nuclear weapons, but did not have them yet. Iraq's nuclear program has (hopefully) been completely dismantled by UN inspectors.

The War Begins, "Desert Storm"

The coalition of national armies, after assembling in Saudi Arabia, took a few shots from SCUD missiles fired from Iraq. When troops started moving into Iraq and Kuwait from Saudi Arabia, Saddam Hussein's "army" turned tail and tried to get out of Kuwait with everything they could carry. The Iraqi "Republican Guard" stayed safely back, far from the fighting. Several hundred U.S. troops died in the brief battle, and ten's of thousands of Iraqis died. Many, if not most, of the U.S. deaths were the result of "friendly fire".

Iraq's army may have been poised to invade Saudi Arabia, but they were mostly Iraqi teenagers recruited for the war, who simply surrendered if given the opportunity. The worlds forth largest army stood no chance against the United States, let alone the combined might of the world. It turned out to be so easy, the U.S. actually made a profit. Kuwait was safely restored to it's former government, and it got a bunch of new oil fields in formerly disputed border areas as well. The job may only have been easy in the first gulf war because it was never satisfactorily completed.

Troops return home

With the worlds forth largest army dissolved, and nothing between coalition troops and the Iraqi capital, George Bush decided to end the war and bring the troops home. UN weapons inspectors converged on Iraq and the coalition armies dispersed. George Bush experienced his highest ratings ever, perhaps the highest of any U.S. President in history in the aftermath of the Gulf War.

Perhaps the most hyped war in history was now over. It was almost certainly the war most orchestrated for the media. All the troops had been drilled for months in preparation for a tremendous battle and possibly chemical and biological weapons. Suddenly it was over. They were sent home and returned to their normal everyday lives. Memories of the threat of chemical and biological weapons lingered.

Years pass before rumors begin to surface - a veteran who suddenly died for no known cause - a veteran who developed an enormous tumor - a veteran who's new child is severely malformed. The threat of chemical and biological weapons returns to everyone's waking memory. Perhaps this is the cause of all these illnesses!

Gulf War Syndrome is Born!

The threat seemed real enough. If it could be demonstrated that Gulf War veterans are suffering from the effects of chemical or biological weapons, they might have grounds for some restitution from the United States government, or perhaps the Iraqi government. Organizations began to form in response to rising concern over the plight of Gulf War veterans.

Some place the number of U.S. citizens who took part in the Gulf War at over 1 million. Official Pentagon numbers only show a total of 697,000, but they may not include non-military members. 45,000, about 6 percent of Gulf War veterans have reported an ailment they believe is linked to their service. The Pentagon found that 85 percent had ailments or diseases with known causes not linked to the Gulf War.

Further Defense Department research is focusing on the 15 percent, slightly less than 1 percent of all Gulf War veterans, whose ailments could not be diagnosed. Their problems included headache and memory loss, fatigue, sleep disorders, and intestinal and respiratory ailments. These have come to be known as the symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome.

What should I do if I have Gulf War Syndrome?

My advice: Reconsider. Don't let the hype surrounding Gulf war Syndrome convince you that you might actually have it. Take a look at the list of symptoms. Ask yourself if you had these same, or similar symptoms before you ever went to the Gulf War. If you're still certain you've got it then:

The Pentagon has established two treatment centers, one at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, the other at the U.S. Air Force Medical Center and Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, to concentrate on the undiagnosed problems associated with Gulf War Syndrome.

The American Legion asks that:

"Even if you do not have any of these symptoms of Gulf War Illnesses, you should make certain your name is on our DATABASE for Gulf War veterans."

Over 150,000 veterans have put their names in the American Legion's database according to spokesmen for the organization.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of Gulf War Illnesses (according to the American Legion)

  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Signs and symptoms involving skin (including skin rashes and unusual hair loss)
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Neurological signs or symptoms (nervous system disorders which could manifest themselves in numbness in one's arm, for instance)
  • Neuropsychological signs or symptoms (including memory loss)
  • Signs or symptoms involving upper or lower respiratory system
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Gastrointestinal signs or symptoms (including recurrent diarrhea and constipation)
  • Cardiovascular signs or symptoms
  • Menstrual disorders

Is this a real disease?

Probably not. Make no mistake, people are suffering from real illnesses with real symptoms. Real suffering is going on in the world, but it cannot be attributed to the Gulf War in any way whatsoever. Gulf War Syndrome as a separate disease, or set of symptoms with a common cause appears to be a myth. The New England Journal of Medicine, so far, is one of the only publications that has taken a stand against the Gulf War Syndrome advocates. In November 1996 they published results disputing the existence of Gulf War Syndrome.

Gulf War Syndrome is, most likely, an unfortunate bi-product of a combination of things.

  1. Tremendous media hype surrounding the threat of chemical and biological weapons during the First Gulf War.
  2. The litigious nature of our society.
  3. The fact that the United States Government is a target for litigation with very deep pockets, and
  4. Those with anti-war sentiments would like to discredit and defame the United States and the global war on terror.

Make no mistake about it, the proponents of Gulf War Syndrome will stop at nothing less than a large monetary settlement with the United States government, at taxpayers expense; and an end to United States efforts to liberate oppressed peoples of the world.

If Gulf War Syndrome were actually caused by the release of chemical or biological weapons, the situation would be quite different. The less than 1% of Gulf War veterans complaining of symptoms were spread almost evenly throughout the Gulf War theater. No particular platoon or region shows any increased rate of occurrence characteristic of the release of a real weapon. Even the accidental release of real chemical weapons would not spread in this manner.

The symptoms are almost identical to those of several other "mysterious" diseases not associated with the Gulf War: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia. You can read more about these three on the CO-CURE Page which I do NOT endorse. Many have already concluded that MCS is not a real illness, it's more of a modern version of hypochondria, but I can't speak to the other disorders.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine the rate of symptoms among Gulf War veterans is not significantly different among military who did not go to the Gulf War. This constitutes extremely strong evidence for what's called the "null hypothesis" in scientific studies, the hypothesis that there is no Gulf War Syndrome. I have debated with spokesmen for Gulf War Syndrome organizations on local radio programs. They operate on fear and propaganda, rather than on a sound and objective debate of the facts.

The U.S. government may have exaggerated the threat to neighboring countries to get us into the war. They misjudged the effectiveness of Iraq's army. It's easy to conclude that they intentionally overestimated the threat of chemical and biological weapons to generate public support for the war. But, now we are asked, by the war's opponents, to believe in a mystery weapon so ingenious, it took years to even be discovered, and seems to strike randomly affecting only a tiny fraction of those exposed. Evidence to even believe in such a weapon would have to be extreme. Without insurmountable evidence, the only reasonable conclusion is that the disease does not exist. At best, there is no scientific evidence for a Gulf War Syndrome at present.

The New England Journal of Medicine article in November of 1996 disputing claims of a Gulf War Syndrome may not be available on the internet, but InSCIght has a summary of their findings, it's called "Gulf War Syndrome Hits a Land Mine".


Some other related pages:


  1. Gulf War Syndrome Skeptic's page