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Press Release
February 2001

Gulf War Vet, Suffering From Severe Gulf War Syndrome, To Join Other US Veterans Going To Iraq To Rebuild Water-Treatment Facilities

Candy Lovett, a female Gulf War Veteran who has testified before both the US Senate, and the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illness; will join a dozen members of Veterans for Peace, Inc. in entering Iraq in the early Spring to protest the US-led economic sanctions. She, along with veterans of World War II and Viet Nam, among others, will go to Iraq to help rebuild water treatment facilities that have been rendered inoperable by the ongoing embargo. The group will depart March 12, enter Iraq on March 16, and will return to the US on March 27th and 28th.

Ms. Lovett, confined to either crutches or a wheelchair, is 100 percent medically disabled due to mycoplasma/fermentes, an immune disorder, and degenerative arthritis -- all related to Gulf War Syndrome. During the Gulf War, Ms. Lovett and another soldier were assigned to burying scores of Iraqis killed in one of the "highways of death" where US planes torched the ground hoping to intercept Iraqis retreating from Kuwait. The one pair of protective gloves given to her for this traumatic detail evaporated within hours, and she had to complete the rest of the 2-day detail with her bare hands. It is still unknown if this caused her illness.

In one of two, front-page articles that have appeared in regional Florida newspapers prior to this release, Ms. Lovett, now a devout Christian, spoke of having to pry the bodies of babies away from the bodies of their mothers. "I hope that by meeting the Iraqi civilians, I can learn to see them as human beings, not just targets."

Veterans for Peace, Inc. (VFP), a non-profit educational and humanitarian organization founded in 1985, is proud to continue The Iraq Water Project, an endeavor begun last year that has achieved astounding international recognition and success. Among the 11 members of VFP going this time (17 went in October), 5 are women. The Iraq Water Project is a partnership with Life for Relief and Development, another non-profit organization. Life for Relief and Development is the only relief organization to have dual permission from both the Iraqi government and the US Treasury Department, to do relief work in Iraq.

Waterborne diseases account for most of the child fatalities caused by sanctions (at least 4,000 per month under the age of 5 years old). Under The Iraq Water Project, Veterans for Peace, Inc. will restore water-cleansing capabilities and provide 10 years of maintenance to four water-treatment facilities located in a suburb of Basrah (a major city in the southeast) called Abul Khaseeb. This area has been ravaged by 2 wars, sanctions, and ongoing bombings. Furthermore, it has been virtually poisoned by the aftereffects of depleted uranium weapons and ammunition use. The population in the region that will be serviced by The Iraq Water Project totals between 65,000-70,000 people.

Veterans for Peace, Inc. is based in Washington, DC, holds 81 chapters nationwide, and has over a dozen international affiliations. It is an accredited NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) with the United Nations through the UN's Department of Public Information.

For more information:
Michael John Carley
(646) 242-4003 - cell
United Nations NGO Representative
(and Iraq Water Project Coordinator)
Veterans for Peace, Inc.