The VA secretary (Eric Shinseki) testified that existing research "more than satisfies the law's requirements," saying that six of nine rigorous studies show strong associations between herbicide exposure and heart disease. He also pointed out that the compensation law doesn't allow consideration of costs of adding illnesses, or other external factors, such as the prevalence of heart disease from other causes, when determining herbicide-connected illnesses.
To veterans like Jesse Hill, who fought in the jungles of Vietnam, the expansion of disability benefits is a good thing, but too little, too late.
"Agent Orange + I've lost so many friends to it + it really hurts," said Hill of the Delaware Valley Vietnam Veterans Association. "I think of all the GIs that have passed away from this poison, they could have got compensation 30 years ago. If the government wasn't so busy denying and lying, my brothers might still be alive."
William A. Ricks
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