navigation...see below for text links
brian martin
Q: Brian, tell me, are you compensated?

A: It was kind of amazing... August of '94 my service officer who lives right across the street from right now called me on the phone kinda laughing, and I said, well, you know, "what's so funny?" and he said "I've got your rating decision here", he says "but I can't officially tell you what it is until you get your letter from the VA", and I said "well, give me a hint" you know I mean 'cause I had already had 20% given to me in '93, and -- for tinnitus in my ear and lower back pain, I had 20%, and he said "I can't tell you", he says, "but you'll be astounded", he says "I've never seen a rating this high in my life, in 20 some years of being a service officer, I've never seen a rating this high." So I got my letter, and I'm already adjudicated by social security. Social security had already given me total disability about seven months or four months, something like that before this, and in August of -- no, I take that back. In August of '94, is when I got social security. On my birthday, October 15, 1994, I got a letter from the VA saying that I had Reiter's syndrome at 100%, chronic fatigue syndrome at 50%, the inflammatory bowel disease 30%, which is 180, then I had the 20% still. So the numbers added up to 200, but they don't call it 200, they call it 100% plus special monthly compensation, and I said well what's -- you know, "wow this is neat, you know, they finally agree that I'm totally disabled, but what does this mean?" He said this rating is so high that once they give you permanent total your kids will be able to go to college for free, you'll get -- they'll have free medical, free dental, free everything. I mean the VA pays for everything from now on

Q: You're involved with Congress, you're involved with the media, they listen to you. What's that like for you?

A: Sometimes it's embarrassing because I'm still Brian Martin, -- I didn't mean for any of this to happen, actually. I was sick, I was told I was gonna die before a certain amount of time. They had actually estimated my life and I know too many Vietnam veterans that have died and their family's got nothing. I know too many Vietnam veterans that are sick and they got nothing. Too many Korean veterans that their family's have nothing. I wasn't gonna allow that to happen. Somebody somewhere was gonna admit something happened to me somewhere at some time no matter what. If I drew my last breath trying to prove that something happened to me, I was gonna do that, and Senator Reigle, who kinda threw me into the national spotlight by appearing with him -- I was kinda like his poster boy, you know. Here's my constituent, he's sick, I've done this for him, I've helped him, but he's never asked anything in return, he's never said vote for me or stand by me in this and everything. He's never asked for anything. Same thing with Congressman Upton. I mean this man from day one, from the first phone call I made to his office, he believed me and he helped me and he still is staying with me every time I'm in DC.

I really enjoy like when I get to do the shows. I don't get paid to do television shows, but my trips are paid, and I would have never seen Los Angeles or New York, I don't think if it wasn't for this issue. I've met a lot of wonderful people. I've met so many good veterans and so many hard working spouses that love their husbands, that are fighting -- you know, spending every dime that they have fighting this issue to prove what's happened to their husbands.

My whole mind is changed about government. I used to say "our government is covering this up." It's not the government. If I said government, I would include people like John Rockerfeller, Joe Kennedy, Fred Upton, Chris Shays, Bernard Sanders, Daniel O'Cocha, I mean I would be including that if I sum that up as the government covering up. I've had to learn how to specifically point fingers at the government entities that are covering it up, like the Defense Intelligence Agency, Dennis Rosen in particular. The man I almost got into a fight with in the hallway at the NIH because he said that the only way we were exposed to chemicals is if "little Iraqis jumped out of little fox holes and sprayed us in our little faces with little aerosol cans", and you know, what kind of mentality is that for a DIA agent to come to me and say this publically at the NIH?


Q: Do you think this is a coverup, on a big scale?

A: Oh, a much larger scale. It's not like maybe the Watergate thing or the Whitewater whatever with Nixon and the Whitewater things down in Arkansas there. I don't think it's a cover up like that. I think what it is is it's a bunch of mistakes that were made, our leaders were not prepared for us to go into battle properly. I think that there's too many chiefs and not enough indians and now they're scrambling to figure out how to cover their butts.

I don't think anybody said "we're gonna purposely make these people sick." I think when they gave us PB pills they wanted it to work. I think they really thought in their little minds that this is gonna work, but then again..I look at it and say if you're gonna experiment on people, what's the largest control group you can do it with? The military. You have men, women, black, white, Asian, Mexican -- I mean you've got all walks of life from different ages, different races, different areas of the United States, and so you give 250,000 of these soldiers PB pills and you give this 250,000 a different kind of shot.

You know -- when they say we didn't have enough batches for everybody, you didn't want enough batches for everybody. If you knew we were going to war, you thought this was gonna work, you should have had enough batches for everybody. Why did the Pentagon force a waiver on the FDA? To give us experimental vaccinations and pills. To experiment on us. So you know that part of it is a cover up, but I don't think anybody said "let's give 'em squalene and make 'em sick." I think they said "let's see what squalene can do", you know and find out what the end results will be and I think that's where they should be held accountable.

I definitely will not quit this crusade until someone is sitting in prison, whether it's George Bush, whether it's Colin Powell, Schwarzkoff, Dr. Joseph I want to see in prison. Dr. Stephen Joseph who used to be the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. I want to see that man rot in prison as long as we are sick because he's lied, I want to see John Deutch when he was Secretary of the CIA, he got up there and told Ed Bradley on 60 Minutes these troops were not exposed to any widespread use of chemicals, widespread exposures, but when Ed Bradley says "any exposure, widespread, little spread, any spread, were they exposed?" he refused to answer it. To my knowledge. We have documents up the butt from GulfLink and everywhere else with his name all over it that he knew about chemical exposures all -- I mean we have the Khamisiyah documents, there's about 800 and some pages to Khamisiyah going as high as the White House.

You know the only person that's gonna escape me is Les Aspin and that's 'cause he died. That's the only person, and 'cause I'm gonna go after 'em all. I definitely want to see 'em in jail. Schwarzkoff, Powell, Bush, Chaney, James Baker, all of them has been found guilty of the Tribunal War Crimes by the UN for atrocities on the Iraqi people and the American people....



home . join the discussion . analyzing the major theories . five interviews . the veterans . a closer look . examining the media's role . a guide to the site . comparing gulf veterans' health with other veterans . tapes & transcripts . press reaction

web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation

PBS Online