Pentagon: More Gulf Troops Exposed to Chemical Agents

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WASHINGTON: TIME's Mark Thompson reports that the Pentagon's new figure on the number of troops exposed to chemical agents during the Gulf War still fails to establish what caused some veterans to become ill. "The problem with these figures is that they do not establish a link, which continues to elude everybody. It's not so much the raw numbers that are important, but whether there is a cause and effect relationship. As of yet, we still don't know if one exists." If anything, Thompson adds, the Pentagon report, which increases the number of exposures from 20,000 to 98,900, is an indicator of how the military appears to have been less than forthcoming in its investigation. "Whether it's one person or a million, it's just further embarrassment for the military, because they've bamboozled this thing every step of the way. If you go back, you can chart how the number of people who may have been exposed has risen. For example, in the first five or six years, the number was zero. Since then, the Pentagon has gradually increased the number to the point where we're somewhere near 100,000. At this rate, pretty soon everyone will have been exposed."