Pentagon releases interim report describing the events at Khamisiyah

WASHINGTON, March 21, 1997 (GulfLINK) - The Defense Department has released its interim report on what happened at Khamisiyah. The report was written by the newly created Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, headed by Bernard Rostker. Rostker started gathering a group of analysts and investigators in December to write "case narratives" on events in the Gulf War that may help to explain Gulf War illnesses.

The Khamisiyah. case narrative is the first to be written by this team. It was released with labels on every page saying, "This is an interim report, not a final report." Rostker said his team does not pretend that it knows all there is to know about Khamisiyah. The document is a report "of what we know today."

In a note to readers on the cover, Rostker invites telephone calls from anyone "with any information that would help us better understand the events reported here." Rostker said, "Our goal here is to open up a dialogue with veterans. They were there on the ground. As they provide us with more information and insight, we will be able to update this narrative."

Anne Rathmell Davis, who is in charge of the Investigations and Analysis Division, said, "This narrative is significant because for the first time we have assembled in one place everything we know to date. It has been a major undertaking involving well over 200 telephone interviews with veterans and hundreds of hours spent searching stacks of official documents for elusive clues."

More narratives on other events and issues in the Gulf War are now being prepared in hopes they will shed light on the possible origins of Gulf War illnesses.