Human Experiments on the Statist Generation

What kind of greatest generation would conduct human experiments and then abandon the victims with their medical problems? Ask the V.A.

We know about recent corruption in Veterans Affairs and how they used secret waiting lists to violate the law about serving veterans. We know how they used private medical data of whistleblowers to punish them. But there are other elements of Veterans Affairs corruption that go back decades.

The Libertarian Republic recently posted about a scandal going back to the nineties and continuing today. In fact, it involves a Pentagon scandal that goes back to the forties, to “the greatest generation.” Apparently the military did not think all of them were great enough to be treated in a civilized manner. They used them in experiments to develop protections against mustard gas.

A total of 60,000 veterans participated in numerous experiments to determine what sorts of clothing or ointments worked as protective measures. The experiments took place at bases like Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland, Camp Sibert in Alabama, as well as research institutions like the University of Chicago.

Many veterans, like Charlie Cavell, were forced into gas chambers and informed that if they told anyone about what had happened, they’d be locked away in Fort Leavenworth and given a dishonorable discharge from the military.

Eventually, however, these crimes against humanity came to light. Thus begins the second scandal—the one involving Veterans Affairs.

With records of the events declassified in the 1990s, the VA promised it would find 4,000 veterans affected and offer them compensation. In 1992, veterans testified at a National Academy of Sciences medical board, describing in detail their injuries stemming from the mustard gas.

“The Germans put Jews in the gas chamber,” veteran Johnnie H. Ross said in 1992. “The United States put their men in the gas chamber.”

According to an investigation conducted by NPR, the VA only tried to contact 610 veterans over a 20-year period. The form of contact? One letter. The VA claimed missing records and personnel information made it impossible to track down those affected. But an NPR researcher found 1,200 veterans in just a short period of time, making VA senior advisor for benefits Brad Flohr’s claims to the contrary hollow.

From 1992 to 2015 is a long time to do so little. Furthermore, it is a long time for sick aging soldiers who are struggling with diseases forced upon them in the 1940s. It looks like the VA’s strategy was to do as little as possible and wait for the problem to “go away.” In other words, they were hoping the sick veterans would die off.  If NPR hadn’t run with the story, it might have worked.

It probably will work since no one is going to lose their job over this, let alone be punished in any real way.