Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America's Soldiers

Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America's Soldiers

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Thousands of American soldiers are returning from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan with severe wounds from chemical war. They are not the victims of ruthless enemy warfare, but of their own military commanders. These soldiers, afflicted with rare cancers and respiratory diseases, were sickened from the smoke and ash swirling out of the "burn pits" where military contractors incinerated mountains of trash, including old stockpiles of mustard and sarin gas, medical waste, and other toxic material.

Based on thousands of government documents, over 500 in-depth medical case studies, and interviews with more than 1,000 veterans and active-duty GIs, The Burn Pits will shock the nation. The book is more than an explosive work of investigative journalism - it is the deeply moving chronicle of the many young men and women who signed up to serve their country in the wake of 9/11, only to return home permanently damaged, the victims of their own armed forces' criminal negligence.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781531872823
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 09/20/2016
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Joseph Hickman spent most of his life in the military, first as a Marine, then as a soldier in both the Army and the National Guard. He has deployed on several military operations throughout the world, sometimes attached to foreign militaries. The recipient of more than twenty commendations and awards, he was awarded the Army Achievement Medal and the Army Commendation Medal while he was stationed with the 629th Military Intelligence Battalion in Guantanamo Bay. He is currently working as freelance journalist covering national security issues, and corporate fraud. He is also an independent researcher, and Senior Research Fellow at Seton Hall Law School’s Center for Policy and Research. His revelations about the abuse of prisoners at Gitmo resulted in a National Magazine Award–winning story in Harper’s magazine and a 2015 book, Murder at Camp Delta. He has also written for Newsweek, TIME, VICE News, and Al-Jazeera America.

Jesse Ventura is the former independent governor of Minnesota. He is also a former US Navy SEAL, professional wrestler, and movie actor, a visiting fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and a New York Times bestselling author of five books, including American Conspiracies, Don't Start the Revolution Without Me!, and 63 Documents the Government Doesn't Want You to Read. He was the host and executive producer of truTV's Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, which won a Stony Award from High Times in 2010. He was also the host of the political talk show Off The Grid, which aired on RT America and online at Ora.tv. He has a reputation as a rebel and a freethinker; he also has no qualms about questioning authority. He resides in Minnesota and in Baja, Mexico.

Read an Excerpt

By Jesse Ventura

It’s no secret what a disaster our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been. The Islamic State is a whole lot more of a problem than Saddam Hussein ever was, and the Taliban sure as hell hasn’t gone away. Let’s face it, George Bush and Dick Cheney were the worst administration in the United States’ history. They ruined the economy, they got us into two wars, and they left things a complete mess that Barack Obama inherited.

But just when you thought the story couldn’t get any worse, along comes The Burn Pits. This is a book that will not only make your blood boil, it’ll coagulate. I mean, blood-curdling isn’t a strong enough metaphor. It’s not bad enough that, since the Iraq War began in 2003, almost 5,000

American troops have died and 32,000 more “officially” wounded (some estimates place that figure at more than 100,000). Or that more than 2,300 U.S. military deaths have occurred in Afghanistan. Or that an estimated 320,000 veterans have brain injuries, and the suicide rate among vets is escalating by the day.

It’s not bad enough that the entire fiasco in Iraq was based on a lie—that Saddam was supposedly just itching to use an arsenal of WMD’s unless we moved on him fast. You’ll learn in this book that Iraq did once use chemical and biological weapons, against Iran and then the Kurds – but the Bush-Cheney people had their reasons for erasing that memory and claiming instead that the threat was new.

Why? Because the terrible truth is, those Iraqi leftovers that ended up in the dump were responsible for poisoning our own soldiers. And American contractors were the ones who spewed it into the air. The top military brass knew about this health disaster, and looked the other way. It didn’t seem to be cost-effective to do anything else – so burn, baby, burn.

I don’t want to give away the whole story, because it should unfold slowly and infuriatingly, as it did for me. The author, Former Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman, was a loyal member of our armed forces for 20 years. In service to our country, he earned more than 20 commendations and awards. Well, he’s recently done his patriotic duty by exposing the murders of three detainees in U.S. custody at Guantánamo, where Hickman served in 2006. Now with The Burn Pits, he’s blown the whistle even louder.

You’ve heard about Agent Orange in Vietnam, which resulted in tens of thousands of people including our troops getting cancer. It’s likely you also know about Gulf War Illness, which the Pentagon now admits afflicts close to 100,000 of our veterans. That’s a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, memory loss, and respiratory problems. Some call these “delayed casualties.” But try using that polite phrase on the brave men and women who are still being refused benefits by the VA’s powers-that-be for the debilitating illnesses that have plagued them ever since serving their country. Instead, call them “denied casualties.”

I doubt most of you have heard of Balad or Bagram, or soldiers like Daniel Mayer and Matthew Bumpus. You will now, and the stories will sicken you. You also may not know that KBR – Kellogg, Brown, and Root, a former subsidiary of Dick Cheney’s Halliburton Company – was the number one corporate beneficiary of the Iraq War. A lot of those millions were generated by operation of the toxic “burn pits”—and Halliburton shareholder Cheney was among those who cashed in.

In 2015 Vice-President Joe Biden’s beloved son, Beau, who’d served a tour of duty in Iraq, died of brain cancer. But you can bet the big media haven’t dared speculate about, let alone investigate, the real cause, which as you’ll see is likely connected to being stationed at two of the burn pits. One of them was Camp Victory, which is beyond ironic.

The Burn Pits pulls no punches. You’ll read about the Veterans Administration claiming that the soldiers seeking legitimate benefits for their health problems were either lying or making it all up. You’ll learn about the buck-passing and how the military can’t be held legally accountable for what’s happened to the men and women exposed to a toxic soup at 75 different bases. You’ll discover a few heroes, too, like the courageous doctors who’ve dared to speak out about how the respiratory ailments and cancers are no coincidence.

I served my country for eight years as a Navy SEAL, and my parents before me in the Second World War. We all believed in freedom and democracy. It took a long time for me to consider that maybe we are no longer the land of the free and the home of the brave, that money and power have corrupted everything America once stood for.

Can we turn back the clock in order to move toward a better future? I don’t know. What I do know is that exposing the truth in books like Joseph Hickman’s The Burn Pits is a wake-up call to all of us that we’d better rise up and reclaim our birthright as Americans. And maybe there’s a Smedley Butler out there among the veterans of our ill-conceived wars who is ready to help lead us out of the quagmire.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Author's Note xiii

Introduction xvii

Chapter 1 A Soldier's Story 1

Chapter 2 A Call for Help 11

Chapter 3 A Disastrous Record 21

Chapter 4 Major Biden 27

Chapter 5 "Iraq Is Poisoned" 35

Chapter 6 U.S. Army Inc. 41

Chapter 7 Warning Signs 53

Chapter 8 Covering All Angles 61

Chapter 9 Project 922 67

Chapter 10 No WMDs in Iraq? 75

Chapter 11 "We Knew the Ground Was Hot" 87

Chapter 12 Signs and Symptoms 95

Chapter 13 Delayed Casualties 101

Chapter 14 The Wheels of Government 111

Chapter 15 Report to the Senate 117

Chapter 16 "Embrace the Suck" 123

Symptoms and Diseases of Case Study Subjects 129

For More Information 133

Acknowledgments 137

About the Authors 139

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