In 1990, following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the United States and its allies from around the world began a buildup of troops that would ultimately see over 700,000 soldiers in theatre to participate in The First Gulf War.
Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) is an umbrella term to describe the symptoms reported by returning veterans in the United States and every other coalition nation which sent its troops to participate in the Gulf War. In the US alone, more than 110,000 cases had been reported by 1999, and new cases continue to come forward each year.
The Department of Veterans Affairs no longer uses GWS, preferring “chronic multi-symptom illness,” or sometimes simply “undiagnosed illnesses” to speak of this now proved condition. This syndrome affects more than just members of the military. Civilians like the press, government employees, and others on the ground also reported their symptoms.
As recently as 2017, "Stars and Stripes" reported that "The Department of Veterans Affairs denies more than 80 percent of veterans’ claims for benefits for Gulf War-associated illnesses -- an approval rating three times lower than all other types of claims." And "veterans seeking benefits for Gulf War illness are having to wait four months longer on average to hear back from the VA" according to the July report from the General Accountability Office. The official U.S Department of Defense newspaper reported "As of February 2017, 90% of medical examiners had not been trained on how to conduct exams for Gulf War illness. The VA made the training optional."
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