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Independent from Vermont  He is a strong critic of the PAC's conclusions that stress was the likely cause of veterans' illnesses. Interview conducted October 1997.

Q: When did you first get involved with this issue?

A: A number of years ago. When we heard from people in the state of Vermont who were over in the Persian Gulf and started reading about some of what was going on and also obviously as a member of the subcommittee which is exploring the problem.

Q: Congressman, when you first got involved with this issue, what kinds of things were you hearing about the veterans? Let's talk first about the VA services.


A: What we were hearing is that people were going to the VA hospitals with problems and basically their problems were given short shrift, they were not taken seriously and either they were believed to have been malingerers and not have any problems at all or at best that the problems were quote-unquote "in their head." And then after awhile as more and more veterans reported illnesses, what we then began to hear was the VA finally saying or the DOD saying, well, yeah, there is a problem, but the problem is all stress-related. Yeah, we acknowledge there is a problem, but it's all stress-related and the truth of the matter is they haven't really moved terribly much from that position despite the fact that there have been a number of studies that have been done by very reputable scientists who have pointed out a very strong link between chemical exposures, peridistigmide bromide, vaccines, and so forth and so on, but that's a line of inquiry that the VA and the DOD have been very reluctant to pursue.

Q: Back then what was it about their attitude that bothered you?

A: What bothered me is that from the very beginning, from the very beginning they either denied that there was a problem, they thought the problem was in the heads of the veterans -- they did not take the problem seriously rather than saying, okay, you have a problem veteran -- or thousands of veterans have a problem, let's try to understand what the cause of that problem is. Let's develop the most effective treatment that we can for you rather than from the very beginning what they were saying is there is no problem and they were saying this not only in terms of the ailments and the symptoms that our veterans were experiencing, when some people said gee, maybe chemical warfare agents are a cause of the problem, are tied into the problem. What their positions was none of our veterans, none of our soldiers were exposed to any chemical warfare agents, none at all.

And then after people on our committee, people in congress, people outside of Congress said, you're wrong, you're wrong, they said, oh, yes, oh, yes, a few hundred soldiers were exposed to chemical warfare agents at Khamisiyah, well, then the number went from a few hundred to a few thousand and then it went to 20,000 and I think the last estimate that we've heard is that maybe 100,000 soldiers were perhaps exposed. But then they say -- the next reaction is, well, don't worry, these were just low-level exposures because we know that unless there is an acute, dramatic response, it's not going to hurt you in the long run. Scientists disagree with that.

So from the very beginning any acknowledgement of the problem, any acknowledgement of the cause of the problem that went outside of their predetermined suppositions was like pulling teeth and that's where they are today. They really haven't moved much in six years.

Q: Now there are issues of getting services and compensation which -- this notion of service connectedness. Now how was this made problematic in your view?

A: Well, obviously if you do not believe that there's a cause -- first of all, if you believe there is no problem, why are you going to pay out benefits. Second of all, if there is no cause of the problem, you really don't have to worry about that in years to come. What some of us believe is that it is possible that if chemicals are related to Gulf War illness that some of the more severe symptoms may not erupt until 10 or 20 years down the line. So our position has got to be, A, there is a problem, it is very likely related to chemical exposures, and thirdly we have got to give the benefit of the doubt to the veterans so that those people who were over there who come down with illnesses in coming years that we think may have been related to their service in the Gulf War, we have got to make sure that they receive the treatment, get the compensation that they deserve.

Q: Wouldn't the VA say they were legally required to establish service connection, that their hands were bound by the law initially, there was no way they could pay out a benefit if they didn't believe there was a service connection?

A: Well, that's your catch-22 isn't it? I mean we believe -- some of us believe that there is a connection and we should have given the benefits of the doubt to the veterans.

Q: What kinds of things were you hearing from veterans about the Dept. of Defense?

A: I mean the Dept. of Defense treats those people still in active duty and I think that their attitude was not terribly different from the VA. The double problem though that you have with the DOD is that we still have people in the active duty and if people are feeling ill, if they're experiencing various symptoms and they're still in the active duty, they're less likely to come forward because that could result in their medical discharge. So instead of developing a groundwork and a climate of sympathetic understanding and say, look, we don't quite know what the problem is, but we have tens and tens of thousands of people who served there who are hurting, how can we help you, come forward, you are not going to penalized, you're not going to be financially punished for coming forward and reporting your symptoms, we want you to report your symptoms, that certainly has not been the attitude of the DOD.

Q: -- Can you talk a bit about what the DOD position was shortly after the war and how this changed?

A: The DOD position after the war is there is no problem,. And as more and more veterans came forward, as the media began to focus on the issue, as Congress took a look at it, finally what the DOD did say is yes, we are prepared to acknowledge that some of the people who served over there are ill, that was their major leap forward, but then their -- when asked why are they ill, their answer is it is a stress-related illness. We do not believe that chemicals have played any role. We do not believe the fact that we administered peridistigmide bromide, which is an experimental anti-nerve gas agent to hundreds of thousands of veterans, so we gave them vaccines, that they were exposed to very, very strong pesticides, that they may have been exposed to chemical warfare agents, we don't think that had any relationship to their problem at all, but we do think that some of these people may be ill, we think it's stress-related. That was their major breakthrough and that's pretty pathetic.

Q: Now, what do you think is really damaged them most politically, the DOD?

A: What's damaged them is their state of denial from day one about the cause of their problems. What's damaged them is their reluctance to fess up to the fact that chemicals may well have played a strong role in causing the illness. What has damaged them is that we have independent researchers all over this country who are beginning to see the links between chemicals and peridistigmine bromide and other environmental factors and that the VA and the DOD has kind of brushed that research aside and not embraced it. What has hurt them is that there are some scientists around the country, including a few within the VA themselves who are trying to develop treatment protocols which seem to be having success and yet they get rejected by the VA and the DOD leadership and be - -they get pushed aside.

So the bottom line is that I believe that members of the United States Congress, overwhelming majority, members of the -- people in our own country and certainly the veterans community believe there is a serious problem which begs for a solution, for an understanding of the cause, which begs out for effective treatment and the VA and the DOD have not been forthcoming and I think right now within the veterans community, certainly with the Congress, there is generally widespread feeling that they have failed their task and it is time to say, thank you, we have got to go elsewhere, to go to those researchers and those agencies who are prepared to take a hard look at the role that chemicals and other environmental factors may have played in the causation of Gulf War illness.

Q: A lot of criticism of the DOD concerns things they said, that turned out subsequently to be untrue. Do you feel their was a conscious effort at a conspiracy or just incompetence?

A: I am not into conspiracy theory and I'm not here to question the patriotism or the sincerity of the men and women in the VA and the DOD and the leadership. I think they're trying. But I think that for a variety of reasons they have not been successful in understanding the cause of the problem or developing a treatment.

Let's go back to 1991/1992. The United States had just won a great military victory, okay, the DOD had performed brilliantly, the number of casualties were far fewer than anyone had dreamed of. If you were in the DOD, would you be very excited in exposing the fact that perhaps the severity of injury and illness is much greater than we had anticipated? The number of casualties that we ended up having was far greater than we had originally thought. So maybe the victory was not so great. It was not something you would be terribly motivated to go forward and say, guess what, wait a second, you know we thought we got out of that almost clean, almost clear, we didn't, there are 10s of thousands of our people hurting as a result of the war. You would not be terribly motivated to do that.

Second of all, to the degree that chemicals may play -- may have played a role in Gulf War illness that suggests that we were not adequately prepared to deal with that problem despite the fact that everybody knew that Sadam Hussein had used those types of weapons in the past.

Thirdly, and very importantly, if in fact it can be shown that the administering of peridistigmine bromide is an important cause of the problem of Gulf War illness then the DOD is directly complicit in the problem. This is then an affirmative action. They gave a drug which may be related in the causation of the problem.

And fourthly, I think it makes people in the Pentagon kind of nervous to know that chemical agents and environmental factors could cause so much damage in terms of what may happen in the future.

So those are some of the reasons.

Q: So you're saying they didn't look very hard?

A: I would say that they were not motivated. If you win a smashing military victory and you're asked to conclude that maybe the vil -- maybe there were a lot more damage and injury and casualties than you had originally thought, you're not terribly well motivated, and you're doubly not motivated if in fact you administer the peridistigmine bromide as an anti-nerve gas agent and it turns out that may be part of the problem. You're certainly not terribly motivated to find the answer.

And lastly, and maybe even most importantly, is the whole role that chemicals play in making us ill and the whole phenomenon of what some people call multiple chemical sensitivity is in fact a hotly debated issue today in medical circles.

I have talked to groups of hundreds and hundreds of doctors who treat people because of chemical illness in the civilian sector. I have also talked to doctors who think that that whole line of thinking is a fraud and is way off the wall and these doctors are just money-makers. I happen to believe in the concept of multiple chemical sensitivity. I think that the synergistic impact of various chemicals can in fact make you sick whether you're in the civilian sector or in a military theatre, but that's a controversial area. I think within the DOD and the VA there are not many of their doctors there, their scientists who believe in that theory.

Q: But when it comes to issues like the existence of chemicals and what the alarms tell us and so forth and the issue of logs, was it your position that there was a conscious -- was it lying or a conscious coverup or is it that it was a sort of a they weren't looking very hard?

A: There's something very fishy there. We had people before our committee who were well trained in the detection of low levels and higher levels of chemical exposure. They were picking this up on very sophisticated machinery, they were picking it up out in the field, but somehow when they reported back to higher ups it did not go very far. At the last what one can say is that it was the position of the higher ups in the military theatre that chemicals were not used and therefore any reporting of chemical detections or reporting of alarms that went off must be false because we have already determined that chemicals were not used so how could it be true.

Q: Congressman, much of what's happened at the hearings has been some very moving testimony from veterans about a whole range of different things which they have attributed to service in the Gulf War and I want to be clear with you as to what you think might be included in Gulf War illnesses. We had, in some of the early testimony individuals with Lou Gehrig's disease and things like arthritis and so forth and even some cancers which normally have a long latency. Is it your position that those are real?

A: I'm not a physician and I can't give a diagnosis of every illness that occurred. I think, however, hearing the testimony from many of the men and women who came before us, talking to people over there from my own state of Vermont and doing some reading on the issue, there is no question in my mind, none, zero, that tens and tens and thousands of our soldiers are suffering from a wide range of illnesses which I believe are attributable to their service in the Gulf.

Q: But does this go beyond symptomatology to include things like Lou Gehrig's disease and cancer?

A: Could it? Again, I'm not a physician and I'm certainly not an expert on on that illness. Do I think it is possible? Yes, I think it is possible. Am I going to suggest to you that every illness that somebody is suffering today is directly attributable to their service, that people don't get ill, that you don't get ill or I don't get ill? No.

One of the areas that really concerns me is in my own state of Vermont and in the reports that we're receiving from soldiers who served all over the country is memory loss. Now memory loss, short term memory loss, long term memory loss for young healthy men and women should not be occurred to the degree that it is in the population we are looking at.

So there's no question to my mind that there are a wide range of illnesses suffered by our veterans, that many of those illnesses are attributable to their service in the Gulf, what I fear is that if many of these people have absorbed chemicals in their bodies that the eruption of the illness has not yet occurred and may occurred later -- may occur later, and one of the things that concerns me, we heard some testimony about this, is that you may have some walking time bombs out there and we should be a lot -- doing a lot better job warning them as to how they might be able to avoid an eruption of one illness or another.

Q: Many veterans claim their wives and family members and even their children have been affected by their experience at Gulf War. Do you believe this?

A: We have heard testimony from people who it seems to me are not lying, that their wives and their children are not ill. Now can I sit here and tell you absolutely and positively that the cause is Gulf War illness? I can't. But I tell what I would do is I would investigate that absolutely and completely. And again one of the criticisms of the DOD and the VA is that when they hear these things, they should be jumping to move in that area and to study that issue rather than saying, no, we don't think so or do a study, it'll take us 2 or 3 years to get the results.

What some of us want to see is what we call a Manhattan-type project where all of the resources of the government are brought together to understand in a short period of time the cause of the problem and the development of the most effective treatment possible, possible and certainly one of the areas that needs to pursues -- pursued, is this a contagious disease? Can it be transmitted sexually? That's a big issue and we have heard testimony that obviously wives and kids have been made ill. They believe that it's a result of something transmitted that their husbands picked up in the Gulf. Is it true? I can't say it is and I can't say it isn't, but what I do think is that we should investigate this absolutely and presume, and give the veterans and their families the benefit of the doubt.

Q: I move on to science and to start with the health outcomes that have been studied by various kinds of groups. There were cluster studies of the first outbreaks in Indiana and Georgia and I think there have been five blue ribbon panels that have looked at the issue and there are epidemiological studies in progress and under way. The consensus as far as I can see from these panels is we are not dealing with a unique syndrome. Agree or disagree?

A: I think what you're dealing with is a wide variety of symptoms which may have different causations.

Q: Now the President's Advisory Committee, which has studied this issue for two years have said among other things that the symptoms you describe, the sort of diverse symptomatology, such symptoms, number one, are common in the general population, and they're common in the aftermath of wars and they can be exacerbated by stress. Now this seems to have been a conclusion which has caused some hostility.

A: Let me suggest in my own personal opinion that stress is a very important factor. I mean everybody knows what stress does to people who keel over with heart attacks or have stomach problems and so forth. There was enormous stress in the theater in the Persian Gulf. So I have no doubt that stress played a role and if you combine the role of stress with the peridistigmine bromide with the other vaccines, with the chemicals that our soldiers were exposed to, I think stress did play a role.

The reason that I circulated a letter to my colleagues here in the House and we have something like 85 signers -- is we were upset that essentially the Presidential Advisory Committee said in our judgement we do not yet see the evidence that suggests that chemicals, peridistigmine bromide, etc., has played a role in the causation of these symptoms. We think that the illnesses are caused primarily by stress.

And that's what we disagreed with. Not to say that stress is not a factor. Stress certainly in my view is a factor, but to dismiss completely the impact of peridistigmine bromide, an experimental drug used for this purpose for the first time and given to several hundred thousand people when we already have signs of evidence that shows that peridistigmine bromide in combination with DEET and other pesticides can cause problems with animals, to dismiss all of that seems to me to be wrong and an area that needs to be pursued.

Q: The PAC studied this issue for two years, they're not part of the DOD or the VA, they're an independent group as far as I can see. Isn't this a case of you putting pressure on them to change their conclusions because you didn't like them?

A: No. It's doing the job that I was elected to do and trying to represent veterans who are hurting. I think they were wrong. And I think you're beginning to see a very clear change, as a matter of fact, after that letter you're beginning to see a number of people on the Committee who are saying, Well, we think it was wrong to exclude the issue of chemicals from our conclusion, and in fact, as you know, in their draft release of several months ago, they were very critical of the DOD in terms of how they looked at the role that chemicals may have played.

Not to mention that the GAO, the General Accounting Office, thought that if present trends continued there's no reason to believe that the DOD or the VA are going to discover the cause of the problem or an effective treatment. So it's not just members of Congress, but basically, I think that the initial recognition, conclusion of the PAC, was dead wrong, and what I wanted to show is that we have many people in the United States Congress who believe that chemicals played a role and that has got to be considered.

Q: But you're not a scientists and your colleagues in Congress are not usually scientists, and here's a panel that was charged with looking at this, so, why not accept their --

A: Well, panels, you know when you get involved in politics, politics is a funny thing. Some of us actually believe that we come closer to representing the interests of people who are hurting than committees that are appointed by other people. Nobody is immune to political pressure and people are appointed for various reasons.

I think what you are seeing now is a change in the conclusions that members of the Presidential Advisory Committee have come up with. And while you can say, correctly, that the Presidential Advisory Committee is independent from the DOD and the VA, there's no question but that they got an enormous amount of the information from the VA and the DOD and that they have a working relationship with them. I think in this whole issue, the Congress in fact, has played a reasonable role in trying to raise the right issues and demanding that the VA and the DOD do the right thing.

Q: It's your realm to raise issues and represent the veterans in your constituents. But the causation issue, the cause and effect of Gulf War illness is an empirical question that scientists are the ones qualified to answer and it's not as if, I think, the PAC would say if they were sitting here, it's not as if they didn't consider depleted uranium, pb pills, biological weapons, pesticides, insecticide, chemical weapons, in their report. They review all this literature you mention. So I'll ask you again, they have said, and I've interviewed them all at length pretty recently, that it is not their view that these things are likely risk factors or contributing factors to this disease. Why can't you accept their verdict?

A: I can't accept their verdict because I have also not only talked to some of those folks, we have also talked and interviewed, and met with scientists who have done substantial research which suggests otherwise. We think that the work those scientists have done in connecting the use of pb pills with pesticides in the causation of illness, is an important step forward and that type of evidence did not get the kind of consideration that it should have gotten from the Presidential Advisory Committee.

We think that within the circles of the government, when you have the DOD and the VA saying something that does have an impact on the members of the Presidential Advisory Committee, without challenging their sincerity. But I think that the evidence is out there that there are whole other lines of research that must be pursued that are not being pursued. To simply conclude that the environmental factors, it was a chemical cesspool in the Gulf War. People were given experimental drugs, vaccines, exposed to chemical warfare agents, exposed to depleted uranium, and to believe that that type of exposure did not play a role in Gulf War illness seems to me probably not correct.

What we would like to do, I'm not a scientist, but what I would like to see is far more research be done in those areas. And the bottom line, the bottom line, if you went to a doctor and you had a variety of symptoms and you were sick, and after six years of going to that doctor you said, Doc, what's wrong with me? And the doctor said, John, I don't understand the cause of your problem and I have no treatment for you. What you would probably say is, Thanks very much doctor. I'm going someplace else. I think that's the stage that we're in.

There are scientists, even scientists within the government, and that's why I fought very hard to get $7 million for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences who do believe that chemicals may have played a role, who want to vigorously pursue the issue. I am not a scientist, but I think it is insane that we are not vigorously pursuing areas that some independent scientists have had good results in, that we are not looking at treatments around the country where some physicians claim to have some success. It is a difficult issue, and I'm not here to personally attack anybody, but it seems to me, what common sense dictates is that the VA and the DOD should have gone wherever they could to look at the research that wa having some results. Bringing in those people and saying, How did you get those results? How can we follow up and find out whether it's true or not? Who was effectively treating? There are some reports that we hear that there are doctors effectively treating Gulf War illness. Those doctors should be brought in immediately and seen if they have something to offer us. That has not been the case.

Q: One final question on that. While I think they would not be adverse to research on that, I think they considered, they did consider, I asked them about many of the studies of the people in your letter, and I think it's pretty clear that they have considered them. They don't actually think very much of them.

A: Fine. They don't think very much of them. But go out to the veterans community and go out to the people who are suffering, and speak to them. You know, science -- I've got news for you, I don't want to hurt your feelings here, but science is not so different from politics. There are honest people with very different points of view. And I have people who disagree with me politically. I don't attack their motives, we just disagree.

In the scientific community there is a hotly debated issue -- whole area of fierce debate as to the role the chemicals may be playing in making people sick, and that is true within our civilian sector. It is true in terms of service in the Gulf War. There are some people who believe very strongly, who have done research and say, Don't be ridiculous, of course it's a chemical exposure. There are very reputable, distinguished scientists who say, I see the same symptoms every day from people who are exposed to chemicals in the civilian sector as I see treating Gulf War veterans. They say, Of course, there's no question in my mind. And there are other people who say, All of these doctors are crazy, they're quacks, there is no science behind them. There are differences of opinion.

What I'm suggesting is, given the fact that after six years the VA and the DOD have failed in their particular approach of the problem, it's time to look elsewhere. And I think there are serious scientists out there who already have come up with some interesting results. Their work may not be taken seriously by the Presidential Advisory Committee, that's fine. But they are being taken seriously by other scientists, by veterans communities, and by those people who are seeking treatment.

Q: I think you made a very good argument for the importance of investigating these areas. Let me bring to you some of the arguments I've heard from more main stream scientists about the dangers of pursuing this. One argument would say that when politics becomes too involved in something like this you end up funding junk science.

A: Forty years ago there were doctors who were advertising on television telling people about the cigarettes that they smoked. They smoked this particular brand of cigarettes because it tastes better. It's cooler for their throat. They were physicians who were on television advertising cigarettes. Thirty years ago there were doctors seriously telling women in this country not to breast feed their children, that it's just not a womanly thing to do, and it's bad for your child if you breastfeed. Twenty years ago in this country there were doctors who were saying there is no relationship between nutrition and disease. That anybody who would say there's a correlation between a high fat diet and heart disease is crazy. Is really a fringe person. Now it's mainstream science. So, in the whole issue, what we're really debating now, is the role that chemicals may play in making us sick.

We have a multi zillion dollar chemical industry, by the way, who would prefer not to have serious discussion on that. No pesticides in the food. They're good for you. Just keep eating them. It's not a problem. No air pollution. It really doesn't cause any problems on human health, and so forth and so on. There are other scientists who, for decades, have been saying, Be careful. There are too many chemicals in our food, in the air, in the drugs that we're taking. It is debated. There are honest scientists on both sides of the issue. And what I am suggesting is that there are very reputable, serious scientists and more and more of them every day are saying, Wait a minute, of course, when people are exposed to all kinds of these powerful chemicals, when they take powerful drugs, we can expect various types of symptomatology to develop. Whether they are right or wrong, let science determine.

I think the case is very clear that the VA and the DOD have not gone out to those people, or have been very reluctant to acknowledge their work. That whole area of research has been dismissed. But the bottom line, let me get back to the bottom line, the bottom line is, if, for six years you went to see a doctor and you were suffering, and you were hurting, and after six years the doctor said, "I don't know the cause of your problem and I have no treatment. But I know that everybody else out there is wrong and we're not going to take them seriously. You keep coming back to me, although I haven't found the cause and I can't treat you." I think you would say, "thank you doctor, I'm leaving. I'm going to somebody else." I think it is time for us to open up our eyes and to pursue other approaches.

Q: But we have incurable diseases that have nothing to do with the Gulf, and we know that those areas, like incurable cancer, they attract quacks to them don't they?

A: Sure.

Q: So there's a danger. My question is really, and this has been raised to me, that some of the projects that have been funded, normally probably wouldn't get funded. You have a primary care physician, Hyman in Louisiana who was given $3.2 million taxpayers money and he doesn't have much of a research background. Is it your position, given the importance of this issue, it should be funded anyway?

A: I don't think you say, "Here's some money for you, and here's some money for you and your very weird theory." What I am suggesting is that, if you have doctors who look at the problem from a certain approach, who already, in their own hearts and in their own minds, do not believe that chemicals could play a role, that when another doctor comes forward and says, "I think that chemicals may have played a role," they say, "Well that's not serious science." What I am suggesting is there is a division within the scientific community and you have honorable and honest people on both sides. And you may well have quacks and crooks on both sides as well. That's human nature. But to suggest that there are not serious scientists who are well published, who are peer reviewed, who are indicating and demonstrating the role the chemicals have played in making people sick, to dismiss that is to be living in the past. And I have not the slightest doubt that, 10, 20, 30 years from now that whole area of science, which is rapidly growing by the way, that more and more physicians and more and more citizens are believing --

Q: Garth Nicolson has a theory that GWS is caused by an infectious agent called a mycoplasma. Some concerns have been raised here one, because he is now, he's not an M.D., and two, because he's saying that people with conditions as severe as Lou Gehrig's Disease, can be cured by taking antibiotics. Can't you see the danger in that?

A: Do I see the danger? No. I think --

Q: Of giving false hope?

A: No. It's not a question of false hope. I think what you should do is take his research and subject it to scientific inquiry by objective people and see whether he is right or wrong, partially right or partially wrong. I do not think he should be dismissed. But let me turn the tables, and say to all of these scientists who tell us that nobody else is doing serious work out there, what have they discovered after six years? What is their understanding? Oh, it's an incurable problem. There is no cause for the problem. That's not a particularly good answer.

Q: So where do we seek closure on this issue? Do we have a long way to go yet?

A: I think we do. Unfortunately. I think after six years. Just compare it to where we are with AIDS. We know the cause of AIDS, not to compare AIDS with Gulf War illnesses, totally different illnesses. But if, at this particular point, after all the government's investment in AIDS research, the people doing the research were to come back and say "Gee, we don't know how AIDS is caused. And we have not developed any treatment which helps AIDS victims." People would say "Gees. Where've we been spending all this money? What have you guys been doing?" That's not the case. We have had some breakthrough. People with AIDS are now living longer, more dignified lives. We understand the causation of AIDS.

Serious research is being undertaken today. Gulf War, now let's look at that. Six years later, where are we? Have we made any breakthroughs? No. Do we have any theories? Not really. Are we having any effective treatments from the VA and the VA(?)? No we don't. Why do we continue on this process? There are people out there who are making some breakthroughs. I think we pursue it. Am I going to sit here and guaranty you that these people have all the answers? I certainly am not. All that I am saying is, Listen. Broaden the tent. Bring in people who are doing research, even if that type of research does not fit the patterns that some of the VA and the DOD scientists believe is within the norm.


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