LETTER   TO   NEWSWEEK-  Sept 26, 1996



Although it's likely that some soldiers were exposed to Sadaam's nerve gases, I find it curious that that only comes out now, when definitive proof that the experimental anti-nerve agent drug troops were forced to take (pyridostigmine bromide) combined with repellent DEET and pesticide permethrin (which were constantly in use)--causes extensive nerve damage in the brain. (Chickens were devastated by the combination) Anything that blocks nerve agents is likely a powerful nerve agent itself, and wasn't meant to be taken for months, which alarmed me at the time. Pyridostigmine actually makes humans more vulnerable to Sarin, which crack Czech CBW units verified in low quantities many places. Not surprising Dr. Lederberg could not find a cause for the ailments: he's a director of American Type Culture Collection, which sold biological toxins to Sadaam in the 80's. Although the Pentagon was dealing with real dangers here, it still used a powerful experimental drug on 400,000 troops without their informed consent. We poisoned our own people, and again shamefully shirk responsibility.


Michael Hammerschlag