The Bug that Bit the President
n 1991, when President George Bush pushed back his chair, fainted, reeled to his left and vomited on the pants of his host at a state dinner in Japan, endless speculation ensued as to the cause. Heart attack, exhaustion, the fluthese and other explanations were tossed about by pundits.
Dr. Garth Nicolson says he knows the answer. The former chair in cancer research and a professor in the Department of Tumor Biology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Nicolson told Freedom that Bush suffered from Gulf War Illnessthe same affliction that has reportedly killed thousands of American veterans and left tens of thousands suffering from a range of horrific symptoms.
Nicolson and his wife, Nancy, a molecular biophysicist, were consulted in the subsequent diagnosis and treatment of the president, of Mrs. Bushand their dog. Later, Nicolson said, George called us and said they were feeling much better.
A simple explanation, with explosive ramifications.
The Nicolsons interest in this area of research began in 1987, when Nancy contracted a disease while working in a laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine. Her weight plummeted to 70 pounds and she suffered from encephalitis, meningitis and partial paralysis.
She later noticed an article in The New York Times entitled Mycoplasma Incognitus by Dr. Shyh-Ching Lo, a virologist at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C., who, it turned out, had been working in Nicolsons own department at Baylor.
The article discussed adverse effects caused by a mycoplasmaa type of microorganismand listed all of the symptoms she had been experiencing.
Nicolson worked her way back to health using an antibiotic, doxycycline, after further research into mycoplasma-related illnesses.
Then, in 1992, Nicolsons stepdaughter, a helicopter crew chief in the 101st Airborne Division who served on missions deep into Iraq during the Gulf War, came home severely fatigued, with pains in the joints, problems with hearing, vision and memory, and a host of other impairments virtually identical to Nancys earlier sickness.
The Nicolsons started to help their daughter and some of her Desert Shield and Desert Storm friends with similar symptoms. According to their discoveries, what caused the Gulf War Illness was a man-modified strain of mycoplasma.
This modified mycoplasma, they said, found in one-half of the personnel suffering from Gulf War Illness, has unusual DNA sequences, one of which includes part of the human immunodeficiency (HIV) virus. The Nicolsons have reported that many people suffering from the illness have recovered their health, to one degree or another, through antibiotics and vitamins. Members of the Armys Green Berets and the Navys Seals, including senior officers of these organizations, are among those who have been successfully treated.
But when the Nicolsons sought to inform the tens of thousands of other Gulf War Illness victims who did not know exactly what was affecting them, to their astonishment, they were discouraged from doing so by superiors at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and subjected to various forms of retaliation that allegedly included a threat at gunpoint from an agent of the Defense Intelligence Agency. While many service personnel approached the Nicolsons for help with their symptoms, and many have reportedly experienced some relief, psychiatrists and senior Pentagon officials continue to insist no such illness exists.
Some strong words from former U.S. Senator Donald W. Riegle Jr. frame the importance of the situation: Our afflicted veterans are sick and suffering, and many have died. Others are now destitute, having spent tens of thousands of dollars, depleting their life savings, in an unsuccessful search for an explanation for their ailments. The veterans of the Gulf War have asked us for nothing more than the assistance they have earned. Our refusal to come to their immediate assistance can only lead others to question the integrity of the nation they serve.