Iraq present and future
Another oddity is Congressman Rep. Rob Ney (R-Ohio) spearheaded a successful effort to rename French Fries. This in order to protest Frances unwillingness to back the US efforts in Iraq (36 ).
Shortly, after the same Congress rapid approved the renaming of food, approved moneys to buy 300,000 armor plated vests. This effort wasn't as rapid as the Freedom Fries effort. Months after troops had been placed in harms way, many still did not have armor plated gear. This was carried out without a Congressional, but still their body of government asked for it. This same body should had made sure that troops had needed equipment before they were placed in harms way ( 37 ).
Even though at first military official insist there is no problem, veterans advocates' are calling for full transparency for military personnel for health risks who were stationed at Balad Air Base in Iraq, Balad is the largest Air Base in Iraq. The health concern is over open pit burning that has been called by an inspector as "the worst environmental site I have ever personally visited.". This is the only thing that is now about the memo because the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine is refusing to release the memo because it claims the memo has information that "would damage our national security." Another memo by Hill Air Force Base officer Darrin Curtis, who was at Balad in 2006 and 2007 called the burn pit and the plum of back smoke an "acute health hazard." (38 ).
Responding to the open burn pit at Air Base Balad Gen. David Petraeus said "Much effort has gone into locating/relocating pits in remote areas of the operating bases to minimize exposure, training personnel on proper operation, developing/circulating operating procedures and assessing burn pit operations to include corrective action,". Open burn pits have been used in Iraq and Afghanistan they are use to burn everything from plastic bottles to used petroleum products (39 ).
As of 2010, 400 vets have contacted Disabled American Veterans who are compiling a list of vets who believe they are ill from being exposed to the burn pits. They have reported things like respiratory problems, cancers, neurological diseases, heart problems and other issues. The cases of respiratory illness have increased since 2001. In Iraq and Afghanistan DOD uses 5o pits in Iraq and 34 in Afghanistan. They only have twenty seven cleaner burning incinerators in both countries (40 ).
A glimmer of hope was given when the Pentagon's acting director of force health protection and readiness, R. Craig Postlewaite said "We do feel like some people probably have suffered some untoward health effects" from burn pits, he told lawmakers. "We don't feel like the numbers are large, based on the total numbers of people that were probably exposed to smoke throughout the theater.". He also said 56 percent of troops reported be exposed to the smoke (41 ).
The Pentagon was aware of the dangers of roadside bombs before the start of the Iraq war, but did little to protect service personnel. 74 page report said the Pentagon "was aware of the threat posed by mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) … and of the availability of mine resistant vehicles years before insurgent actions began in Iraq in 2003,". The report also said Marine Corps leaders "stopped processing" an urgent request for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) from combat commanders in Iraq's Anbar province(in 2005) after declaring more heavily armored humvee was "best available" to protect troops (42 ).