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Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Sept. 26, 1996
issue of Workers World newspaper
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Carol Picou: Something was wrong with me

[Carol Picou served 17 years in the U.S. Army and was a nurse during the Gulf War]

Our unit was the foremost hospital going into Iraq. We would jump, set up a hospital and move on.

In Iraq as we drove on the back desert on a road created for us, there was ammunition laying everywhere. The seven women who went to the front got sick. Of 150 people who went to the front, 40 are sick. Six have died-from homicides, suicides and cancer.

As we headed in to Basra, we pulled up a half-mile off the road and set up our hospitals. We saw to Iraqi civilians, babies playing with grenades, nomads tending sheep who stepped on land mines, POWs who came in malnourished.

We stayed there for 15 days unprotected.

I started noting black specks over my skin so I reported it. I couldn't control my bowels and my bladder anymore. I went on sick call.

Back home I told my husband my brain didn't feel well. My body didn't feel well. Something was wrong with me and I knew it wasn't combat stress.

So I started seeking answers. I joined up out of patriotism. I was threatened with losing my military career. And that happened.

Someone called me and suggested that I had depleted-uranium poisoning. [After Washington told me I couldn't get tested], I called my Congressman and finally got tested. My results came back positive on Sept. 10, 1994.

I have long-term and short-term memory deficits, and toxic encephalopathy of the brain. I have developed thyroid deterioration.

Our babies are born without thyroids. I am on synthroid for the rest of my life. I have suspicious squamous cancer cells of the uterus.

The army issued me diapers and said I could catheterize myself for the rest of my life. I was afraid I would have a child born with birth defects and had my tubes tied.

Deformed babies born in San Antonio in our support group of 125 veterans look like the babies born in Iraq.

The Iraqi children play with the rounds of ammunition left in the sand. What happened over there? Were we exposed?

Come together and fight for your sons, daughters, your mothers and fathers, for the people over there now, and for the people of Iraq that are suffering from the contaminants left behind in their land.

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