mustard gas victims still await congressional action

A year ago, this newspaper declared that the time had come for the federal government to own up to its responsibility to aging military veterans who were deliberately exposed to horrific toxins during the World War II era. But Congress seems not to care. These veterans weren’t wounded by the enemy in war; it was their own government that maimed them in a heinous, coerced attempt to test the effects of mustard gas on humans.

The Pentagon and Veterans Administration have repeatedly, and in the most cowardly way possible, blocked veterans from receiving the benefits they’ve earned. It’s as if the government and Congress are stalling in hopes the veterans will die and take their pesky problems with them to the grave.

Most members of Congress wave the flag in support of veterans yet do nothing to right past wrongs. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is an outlier. She is doggedly pursuing a legislative response to this injustice.

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