Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Like Agent Orange before, burn pits sicken new generation of veterans | Tampa Bay Times

Posted by M. C. on October 18, 2017

Government as killing machine. It doesn’t care who.

Thinks of what the hundreds of bases in the US and overseas do to the local citizens.

The new agent orange.

TAMPA — D.J. Reyes served as a top Army intelligence officer in combat zones across Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Those were long days, long nights, a lot of stress, a horrible environment,” Reyes said. “But I had a mission to do.”

When he retired, a doctor found scar tissue on his lungs, evidence of long-term respiratory problems.

Now Reyes is one of nearly 120,000 people who have registered with the Department of Veterans Affairs because of health problems they blame on their exposure to burn pits — the military’s crude, low-tech method for disposing of trash in war zones.


Human waste. Spent ammunition. Batteries. Dead animals. All were placed in open pits and burned with jet fuel, Reyes recalled, in settings — especially austere forward operating bases — where incinerators or other methods were deemed impractical.

“All my life I was an athlete. I used to run a lot,” said Reyes, 60, of Tampa, who retired as a colonel in 2013. But after a time, he knew there was something wrong when his breathing became labored.

Still, he said: “I am lucky. I am still alive.”

Lauren Price, who drove a truck with the Navy in Baghdad during 2007 and 2008, remembers the smoke from plastic water bottles, plastic foam containers, batteries and vehicle parts covered with paint.

“I breathed that every day for 13 months,” said Price, 52, of New Port Richey, who retired as a petty officer first class because of other medical reasons after the Navy denied her claim about respiratory issues.

Be seeing you


I am not a number. I am a free man!-Number 6

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