FRA NewsBytes October 24, 2014

FRA Newsbytes 10/24/2014

FRA Newsbytes 10/24/2014

In this issue:
Pentagon Withheld Information About U.S. Servicemens’ Exposure to Dangerous Chemicals While Serving in the Iraq War
Fewer Veterans Running for Congressional Office
New FRA Leadership

Pentagon Withheld Information About U.S. Servicemens’ Exposure to Dangerous Chemicals While Serving in the Iraq War
Last week, The New York Times released a story called “The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons”. An estimated 5,000 chemical weapons were found in Iraq between 2004 and 2011, but the Pentagon kept it a secret. American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule. Examples of these chemical weapons include sarin gas and potent mustard gas.

The American government withheld word about its discoveries even from troops it sent into harm’s way and from military doctors. Congress, too, was only partly informed, while troops and officers were instructed to be silent or give deceptive accounts of what they had found. The government’s secrecy, victims and participants said, prevented troops in some of the war’s most dangerous jobs from receiving proper medical care and official recognition of their wounds.

Fewer Veterans Running for Congressional Office
The Military Times reported Monday, October 20, that the number of military veterans serving in Congress has been steadily dropping, according to a new analysis.

According to the nonpartisan Veterans Campaign, 183 of the 865 major party candidates up for election to Congress this year have military experience.

The number represents the first time in recent memory that fewer than 200 veterans ran for Congress, which could drop the total number of veterans serving to fewer than 100 for the first time since the 1950s.

According to Veterans Campaign Executive Director Seth Lynn, there are currently 106 veterans in Congress. “We’re used to seeing this steady decrease every two years, but this could be an even steeper drop than we normally expect,” Lynn said. “This is going to be the election that puts us below earlier levels.”

Despite the overall drop in veterans running for office, a higher number of candidates from the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are running for Congress—46 of the 183.

New FRA Leadership
Delegates at FRA’s 87th National Convention conducted Association business and elected new officers for the coming year during the annual gathering in Corpus Christi, Texas. NVP John Ippert (Branch 46, Honolulu, Hawaii) was named FRA’s new National President and PRPSE Roger Mitchell (Branch 188, Tampa, Florida) was elected as National Vice President for the 2014–2015 Association year.

FRA congratulates the newly elected leaders and wishes them a successful and productive term of office. Further convention news will be highlighted in the December issue of FRA Today.