Friday, May 20, 2011

More on the IOM Study

More on the IOM Study

After listening to the conference regarding the release of the IOM Study on Blue Water Navy and Agent Orange, there are a number of conclusions to be drawn.

First, the IOM Committee was tasked with the wrong parameters. The point they made in the conference is that there are no qualitative statistics gathered by anyone that could prove exposure, or non-exposure to a statistical certainty.

Second, by their conclusion that they could prove neither the liklihood of exposure to Dioxin, nor the non-exposure, they left the door open for the correct scientific approach, which is a statistical analysis and comparison between all Vietnam Veterans and all Vietnam Era Veterans current day as to who has which and how many AO-related diseases. This would be a mortality/morbidity study and the breakdown would be four groups: Brown Water Navy, Ground troops, Blue Water Navy, and the control group: Vietnam Era Veterans.

Note: We make the distinction between Vietnam Veterans, those who received either the Vietnam Service Medal or the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Service in Vietnam, and those who served during the Vietnam Era but who did not receive either of those medals.

Therefore, when we ask Congress to introduce, support, fund and pass the Agent Orange Restoration Act of 2011, we will also ask them to request such a study to be contracted out by the Institute of Medicine.

Based on the reading of the report and the testimony in the conference held today it is our opinion that the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Study of Agent Orange and Blue Water Navy Veterans did an outstanding job. Their task was a difficult one. One can read between the lines and see what, perhaps, they really wanted to say, but could not because of the limits of their task, which was set by the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs at the frantic urging of Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, a decorated Vietnam Veteran of the Marine Corps.

It is a sad state of affairs that a Vietnam Veteran of his stature would do, say, and believe the things he has done and said, all in opposition to anyone outside the Marines.

In the end, the IOM did what it was tasked with doing, which once again makes them heroes.


”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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  1. Anonymous01:18

    Well, Mr Webb definatly won't be on our hero's list.....wonder just what axe he feels he has to grind with the BWN? Considering he was also Secretary of the Navy, one has to wonder. Guess this is your 'partial victory'...strange, I feel it was a loss.

  2. Anonymous09:42

    At the risk of seeming simple; as I read it, exposure was neither proved or DISPROVED....doesn't the benefit of the doubt go to the veteran?

  3. Generally speaking we think you are correct. Based on that, the Secretary SHOULD add all Blue Water Navy personnel to presumptive eligibility.

    But we doubt he has the guts.


  4. Anonymous13:39

    It all comes down to's really tight right now as we all know very well and putting this on the list would obligate $$$ that he presently doesn't have to do.
    When I speak to people, non-vets, and tell them about the VA's Agent Orange farce and other things such as retired military with a disability rating under 50% having to pay their own VA disability pension out of their retirement pension.....I see a lot of indignation at the way vets are being treated behind the scenes, things not generally known...if the public was more aware perhaps things would move a bit. I heard Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) in an interview on FOX news plugging for BWN VN vets/Agent Orange and, although she's plugging for a bill we don't fully support...I have to admit I was heartened somewhat.

  5. Anonymous10:54

    Well, I can see where this report is going to be a big help in getting legislation passed...not!

  6. Put on your spectacles and read the report again, and maybe two or three times until you see it.

    Its there, and its in our favor.


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    If you like a copy of the information please contact me at

    William L. Benson
    ETCM, U.S.C.G RET.