Hate Mail, Volume 19.

January 01, 2001  ·  Michael Fumento  ·  Hatemail

Moccasins and MCS

You are sooooooooooooo full of shit! I have MCS [so-called "multiple chemical sensitivity], and I could only WISH it were a phobia!!!! If you could spend just 5 minutes inside my head after I have been in contact with offending fragrances, you would perhaps have a different view and opinion on the subject (one that you have absolutely NO firsthand knowledge of, and isn't encompassed in your lofty lawyer degree!). As the ancient Indian proverb says "Don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins!" SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!

[omitted] March

Dear Ms. March:

I have a feeling I’d rather spend five minutes in the inner-most ring of hell than inside your head. And what about coming in contact with ignorant offending emailers? If we ban perfume and cologne, aren’t you afraid we can have you banned too? I admit I have no firsthand knowledge of MCS, but that’s only because it doesn’t exist. I also don’t have firsthand knowledge of seeing Elvis eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich at the local diner yesterday. Finally, speaking of offending odors, I wouldn’t get within a mile of your moccasins.

Michael Fumento

Calvin Klein is the Reincarnation of Hitler

Subject: Your rant about “fragrance phobia”

I work with a woman who gets very sick when she encounters strong fragrances. She has the worst asthma attacks and often ends up going home for the rest of the day after encountering perfumes and colognes. I have gone to great lengths to advocate for this woman and get others in our department to accommodate her because what she has qualifies as a disability. She has just as much right to earn a living as anyone else. I am bothered by strong fragrances too. I have had clients walk right up to my desk wearing so much cologne, I not only started to sneeze, but got an immediate headache that lasted for hours!

You smugly proclaim that few people get sick from this sort of thing. Yet you fail to recognize that fragrance sensitivity is a subjective thing and my colleague and I are very sensitive...in her case, this is something that could be life-threatening, as 500 adults die in Canada from asthma each year. If you walked into our office wearing your Polo or Calvin Klein and she happened to be in the same room, you'd probably kill her! I suppose you'd blame that on her, rather than take responsibility for ignoring the signs posted in our reception area about our office being scent-free!

I'm appalled that you would minimize and make light of something like this. Just because it isn't your personal problem doesn't give you the right to attack or ridicule people who are adversely affected by it. I mean, how incredibly self-centered can a person be?

The fact is, some people have no consideration when applying scented products in the amounts they do. Some of them have been bombarding themselves with excessive quantities of fragrance for so long that their olfactory glands are probably just plain "burnt out" and incapable of recognizing how offensive they are to others. I suspect you are among them.

No one needs scented products. They are not essential to our survival. There are unscented anti-perspirants and deodorants that do the job as well as scented ones. I am forced to use unscented versions because I break out in hives otherwise. Two of my daughters have the same problem. I can wear mildly-scented perfumes, but I don't wear them to the office and I have to be careful not to apply them directly to my skin. The fact is, if you wash yourself every day, and [sic] after vigorous exercise, fragrance should not even
be necessary.

My first thoughts when a highly-scented man approaches me are: "My God, what is he trying to hide about his hygiene?" and "I wish he would just go away and give my nose some peace!"

Is that the kind of impression you like making on people? First impressions are important. Imagine how many employment offers some guys lose due to overuse of colognes. How about dates? People who suffer from fragrance sensitivity are not simply a benign and inconsequential group of "whiners" and victims. They can take action against those who offend them, even if they are forced to suffer in silence momentarily. Think about that the next time you introduce yourself to a prospective client or hiring manager and they lean back and wrinkle up their nose as you approach them with your hand out. Believe it or not, your attitude has consequences.

Basically what you want is for the entire world to cater to you. Your ego is bigger than your armpits are smelly. Did you know that members of the KKK are extremely bothered by black people and Jews? Therefore we should accommodate the ku kluckers and lynch them all. Of those 500 Canadians who die of asthma, there’s no evidence that a single one (or anybody anywhere) has ever succumbed to a smell. That means smells are NOT life-threatening my wearing Polo or Calvin Klein around your colleague would not kill her. Asthma is a very serious problem, as I personally know since I had it as a kid. I am appalled that you would minimize and make light of it this way. On the other hand, NOT minimizing and making light of self-absorbed, egocentric eccentrics like you would be appalling.

*I’m sorry, but you live in something called a “democracy.” Look it up in the dictionary. In democracies, minorities have rights. But they do not have the right to inflict their idiosyncrasies (or idiot-syncracies as it were) upon the majority. *

“Imagine how many employment offers some guys lose due to overuse of colognes.” Sorry, but I’m imagining just about none. Were I in the position of hiring people, I would not turn down a good person because he wears too much cologne. I would hire him and politely suggest he uses less than half a bottle at a time. And guess what? I’ll bet he’d listen. Nor during my dating days would I have rejected a lass because of her perfume. That would make me as shallow as you.

There are tons of things available in our society that nobody needs, including whiners. But whiners aside, we buy them and use them because they have a utility. Most people like a hint of cologne or perfume; that’s their utility. Your obsession blinds you from the fact that Calvin Klein has never put a gun to anybody’s head to make them buy a product.

Finally, I’m glad you think my attitude has consequences because your attitude makes you look more foolish than somebody who wears a quarter bottle of Aqua Velvet to work.

Michael Fumento

I’m So-o-o-o Insensitive

Mr. Fumento, Your article “Senseless Scent Patrol” is one of the most inconsiderate and irresponsible pieces of "journalism" I have ever encountered.

It is obvious you have no idea what chemically sensitive ("CI") people go through. [How he gets the acronym “CI” out of “chemically sensitive” I’m not entirely sure.] As a "recovered" victim, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy; but you are tempting me.
This is a syndrome that can attack virtually all walks of life [sic], often through no fault of their own.

This [sic] biggest tragedy is the large numbers of people suffering from this, but misdiagnosed by their doctors.

Instead of getting instant relief by simply uncovering and avoiding the items they react to, they suffer years of pain.

Please do not continue to contribute your unscientific opinion in an area you have clearly not properly researched.

Please cite your source for "a few among hundreds of millions."

Very Truly Yours,
Paul [omitted]
Birmingham, Michigan

Dear Paul,

*Since there’s no such thing as multiple chemically sensitivity, I cannot possibly know what the sufferer of such a non-illness goes through; so you have me there. But I do know that the medical professionals who rake in the bucks by touting this phantom menace claim that “recovery” is impossible, that patients must be treated for life. (Patient recovery, you see, is not conducive to the doctor making the payments on his Porsche.)

When I said “a few persons among hundreds of millions may have allergic reactions to this perfume or that deodorant” I meant only that practically anything can cause some sort of reaction to somebody somewhere. Such an assertion hardly needs substantiation. What needs substantiation is “chemical sensitivity,” and you have provided none.*

Michael Fumento *

**Blunt, Maybe . . . **

read [sic] this email plz [sic], if ure [sic] honest! My whole problem with this issue is that not only do "doubters" (the Industry [sic], even though they don't REALLY doubt anything, they just deny it) ignore the research done by Nuclear [Nuclear?] scientists, toxicologists, immunologists, etc. with advanced degrees, but they also imply that I'm crazy. This offends me because I have reactions to chemicals when I don?t [sic] even know they are there but find out later, so it puts more stress on me because I am afraid people think I'm lying.

I am a huge fan of being brief and blunt, so I will keep this informative, yet short as can be.

[I’m a “huger” fan of brevity, so I cut his remaining 1,500 (!) words.]

Thank you for your time.

Patrick P. [omitted]

Dear Patrick:

For the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would think you were crazy.

*Sincerely, ,
Michael Fumento *

Deutschland Über Alles

Mr. Fumento,

I have read your article "Senseless Scent Patrol".

By reading sentences like "fragrance phobia is a mania, nothing more" and reading that you refer to medical literature, I was asking myself if probably you don't know that fragrance is e.g. one of the strongest triggers of asthma.

More than 4,000 chemicals are used in fragrances. Some toxic chemicals found in fragrances: Toluene, ethanol, acetone, formaldehyde, limonene, benzene derivatives, methylene chloride, and many others known to cause cancer, birth defects, infertility, nervous system damage, or other injuries.

Toluene was found in every fragrance sample collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency according to a 1991 report. Toluene has been proven to cause cancer and nervous system damage and is designated as hazardous waste.

Fragrance is used to influence people to work more or buy more etc.; there are many studies existing to prove that.

In the meantime, like other governments, in No. 14/00 of April 14, 2000, press information by the Federal Office for environment, Berlin, Germany, the Commission for indoor air hygiene of the said office warns of careless use of scents and aromas in indoor spaces. [Yeah; I know. But insofar as her English is better than my German, especially Swiss German, I’m cutting her some slack.]

Studies have revealed that scents and aromatic substances can be a possible cause for allergies and general disturbances of health conditions. There exist in the evaluation of health risks, particularly concerning scents produced from natural essences, still considerable doubts and a great number of open questions.

Is the Federal Office spreading fragrance phobia in your eyes, too? [I don’t understand the question, but certainly I wouldn’t want them spraying perfume or cologne in my eyes.]

I think every human being has the fundamental right to breathe fresh air. The freedom to do how we like stops there where it is hurting another human being.

To read or hear sentences like "If those fragrant-phobic fruit cakes want to make body odor a virtue that is their right. But if they try to take my Polo or Calvin Klein, they'll have to pry the bottles from my cold, dead but nice-smelling fingers." does not impress me anymore. It is the usual behavior of people using fragrance. They are reacting like people who are taking drugs and are afraid someone would take it away from them.

[omitted] von Dach

Sehr Geehrte Frau von Dach:

In a letter as long as yours it’s virtually impossible to be wrong about everything, yet somehow you succeeded. The most powerful triggers of asthma are natural substances such as cockroach droppings and plant allergens, with fragrances so far down the list as to be not worthy of mention. You say that there are over 4,000 different chemicals in fragrances. I sincerely doubt that, since the labels of fragrance ingredients tend to list many of the same ones over and over, hardly leaving room for 4,000. But your very assertion on the number puts to lie your efforts to lump them all together. It would be like saying, “I have 4,000 animals in my zoo and they all eat the same thing.” Or to put it another way, you’re saying that really all any one given fragrance has in common with another fragrance is that it gives off a smell. That’s hardly grounds for lumping them together as far as health problems are concerned.

I’m not going down the list of the chemicals you specifically mentioned but to look at the first one you list, toluene, what you say is false. Consider the EPA summarization. There is no evidence for any of the allegations you mention. Your countrymen make great watches and better chocolate, but to judge by you toxicology is not their strength.

Interestingly, you cite some tepid ruling from Berlin about “careless use of scents and aromas in indoor spaces,” yet you don’t mention any from any other country in the world including your own. There are over 200 different nations, but for some reason Germany trumps them all. I suppose we can all learn from the way they’ve handled their economy, too. Moreover, even the alleged ruling you provide makes no mention of health harm of any sort, therefore it could mean nothing more than what we all know – people who wear too much fragrance too close to others can be irritating. The same can be said of people who wear rings in their noses or dye their hair purple.

I am hardly “afraid” of the loss of the availability of fragrances. But we in the U.S. have a much stronger sense of individual freedom than European countries and even Canada, where much of the fragrance nonsense comes from. To use my above examples, I’m personally revolted by people who wear nose rings and purple hair but I would not outlaw it because it offends my personal preferences. You would, except that rather than admit it’s a personal preference you compile a smelly concoction of false science to back your position up.

Mit Besten Grüßen,
Michael Fumento

Bill Moyers’ Moral Superiority

Mr. Fumento -

I was totally disappointed by your site. Although you claim to be studying advances in biotechnology, your site on "Bill Moyers: Bad Chemistry" was little more than a diatribe. If any advances are to be made in biotechnology, they will need to be based on the scientific method, which calls for a certain amount of self-skepticism.

Perhaps you think personal attacks and innuendos are humorous. I can assure you, they only detract from, rather than contribute to, the conversation. I would very much like to read an intelligent, factual, and concise critique of Bill Moyers' show. Unfortunately, you give me little to nothing to add to the conversation, so I must conclude that Bill Moyers is better informed, better educated, and morally superior to you. I also must wonder why someone supposedly interested in biotechnology would bother to furiously promote such a poor argument. Would you, perhaps, have some ties to the chemical industry?

Please either change your approach or stop altogether. There are more than enough poorly-constructed, simpering arguments on the internet without yours.

Kirk Baker

Mr. Baker -

I was totally disappointed by your letter. You cite not a single fact to support your position or detract from mine, leaving only a diatribe. I wrote an intelligent, factual, and concise critique of Bill Moyers’ show. But you didn’t like it because you were already prejudiced towards his extremist anti-chemical position. So I must conclude that I am better informed, better educated, and morally superior to you. And yes, I have ties to the chemical industry – the same ones you do. I couldn’t live a day without chemicals.

Please either change your letters or stop sending them altogether. There are more than enough poorly-constructed simpering pieces of hate mail on my website without yours.

Michael Fumento

Obesity Hate

In Denial about Being Fat

Hiya Fatstufff ( I can safely call you that, having seen your photo!!)

I read your article, sentence #2 told me that I certainly wasn't going to get good journalism....but then that's not what you're known for anyway.

" Children are lumbering right behind their parents."

Says is [sic] all really, says more about YOU than the rest of the article. I presume you're just a hack rather than an actually obesity researcher? In other words, you have a forum for your personal attacks, hatreds and bigotries and take little note of the facts? Your articles on this subject proves my point. I wonder if you realise how stupid and misinformed you appear when you write drivel like this?

[Fat mid-section omitted.]

If you are still reading, which I very much doubt, I have to tell you that most fat people know way, way more than you about obesity (even though you are fat yourself, you're clearly in denial) and your nasty little kkk-style [sic] put downs just make YOU look stupid.

Sarah Aston-Craig
Surray Hill Clinic
Surray Hill

Hiya Soon-to-be-Dead-from-Obesity But Happy About It. Here’s my photo. If that's fat to you, then Kate Moss is John Goodman.

Michael Fumento

[I sent her my photo. For some reason I never heard back from her.]

Fat and Frightened

Dear Sir,

I just finished you book "Fat of the Land"! And, your view of fat people is not only frightening, but also very counter productive [sic]!

For your information most people are fat, because people like you are scaring them into diets that don't work. There are also cases where there are problems in their life [sic] that drive them to eat. For these people, you just can't go and tell them to lose weight. You
have to solve or remove the problem(s), before they can lost [sic] the weight!

By the way, you seem to be of the opinion that any person with a few extra pounds on them, is in danger of balloon [sic] to morbid obesity. While, that might be true in some cases, not everyone have [sic] eat [sic] habits or lifestyle, that are that bad!

Anyway, I would like to thank you for the book. I [sic] will keep me warm this winter, as fire wood.

It is my hope, that you [sic] views of fat people, becomes more factual in the future.

Tom [omitted]

Dear Tom,

Let’s read between the lines. You’re fat and rather than blame yourself, you’d rather blame me. Unfortunately, while that may make you feel better psychologically it won’t make you lose a single ounce, nor alleviate the problems obesity causes you.

As I repeatedly stated in my book, an overweight person cannot hope to accomplish anything until he accepts personal responsibility for his condition. I also made it very clear that fad diets and exercise equipment and diet gurus have contributed to the problem, but as much contempt as I have for them I’ve never seen Suzanne Sommers or the late Dr. Atkins hold a gun to anybody’s head.

Your efforts to portray fatness as merely the reflection of individual problems falls flat in light of the tremendous explosion of obesity in this country and throughout the developed world. Two-thirds of Americans are not overweight, with half of these obese, because “there are problems in their life.”

Regarding your “ballooning” statement, it remains that 1) people tend to get fatter, not thinner and hence those who are merely overweight today are the obese of a few years down the road and the morbidly obese of a few more years down the road, and 2) studies cited in my book and published since then show that even being moderately overweight shortens lives for a variety of reasons. Burn my book if you wish, but you’d be a lot better off burning calories.

Michael Fumento

Dear Michael,

It is sad that you are trying to win the argument, by assuming that I am just a very depressed and obese guy, who is try to blame my failure to lose weight on you.

Let me assure you, that I have no problems with who I am!

By the way, why do you assume that I am fat or obese, just because I come to the defense of the so-called overweight?

Your efforts to portray obesity as merely as a case [sic] of overeating, simple because [sic] there is [sic] more fat people in the world than before, sounds more like a personal opinion that real scientific reasoning.

In response, to the diet guru statements, while I do agree with you, that Suzanne Sommers is not hold [sic] a gun to anybody's head, don't you think that if people are being degraded and being made to feel like second class citizen, that they would go to into [sic] these fad diets, anyway?

As for the ballooning statement, I read that article too [I have no idea what article he’s referring to.] and I am sure that it said we are get fat [sic] as a nation! I don't remember it saying that each and every fat people is fatter [sic].

In closing let me just say, that I blaming you for anything [sic], I am just do not argue with everything thing [sic] in you book! [sic]

Tom W.

Dear Tom,

The NAAFA website is packed with people weighing 350 pounds and above who claim to be quite comfortable with their size. And each one is lying – to themselves. It’s like Paul Simon once said in an interview, any short man who says that being short doesn’t bother him is a liar. I know you’re obese not just from the tone of your letter (believe me, over the years I’ve received many just like it), but from the fact that you’ve now had two occasions to say you’re not. You have also declared you’re “very comfortable” with your size. People in good shape feel comfortable; they don’t feel the need to insist on it.

Whatever may sound to you like a personal opinion is backed by years of research. If you really had read *The Fat of the Land you would know that. That book comprised two years of research, plus I’ve kept up with the subject in the six years since then.*

Degradation has nothing to do with fad diets one way or another. The appeal of the fad diet is that it gives people “magic,” some way of avoiding the physiological equation that the amount of fat one carries is determined solely by caloric intake and output. People who offer that magic and back it up by either being a celebrity or using lots of gobbledygook pseudo-science like Atkins or Barry Sears can make millions of dollars feeding off such gullibility. Not only does this waste readers’ time and money, but it apparently often convinces them that if these diets don’t work then any attempt at weight-loss is futile. That’s why I devoted so much space in my book to debunking them, have just published a piece in Reason debunking a study supposedly supporting Atkins and am just about to publish another debunking the *New York Times magazine cover article that gave ostensible “scientific” support for Atkins. Why would I do that if I didn’t care about fat people? I didn’t do it for me; I’m far slimmer now than when I completed The Fat of the Land, much less than when I began it.*

Finally, I never said that each and every one of us is getting fatter. That would be pretty darned stupid, especially in light of my personal weight-loss experience. What I’ve said is that our nation, and the rest of the developed world, is getting fatter as a whole at a frightening rate. It’s got to stop and I’ve tried my best to help. If that makes me the bad guy, so be it. I’m not about to quit.

Michael Fumento

“I’m NOT fat; I’m Just Big-boned!”

Your recent article in the Washington Times leaves out (as do most stories on the subject) the critical fact that the definition of obesity has recently changed. Body type and frame size (yes, Virginia, there really is such a thing as "big boned") were recently shucked in favor of the all-inclusive BMI.

Overnight, millions of Americans became "overweight" (like Michael Jordan) or "obese" (like Tom Cruise). This prompted the Surgeon General (a position for which intelligence is apparently not a prerequisite) to declare that obesity is America's #1 health problem. Lawsuits against fast food outlets began immediately.

I detect a pattern. When anti-tobacco zealot C. Everett Koop made a similar proclamation about smoking, bottom-feeders in the legal extortion industry rejoiced and many of them ultimately became billionaires.

[Rest of letter put on a diet.]

[omitted] Long

Dear Mr. Long:

Your letter leaves out that the studies I relied on used a constant definition going back to 1980. Are you going to tell me that 25 percent of Mexican-American children are now at a BMI of 30 or over because they’re muscular like Michael Jordan or Michael Cruise? Just how many hours are these tots spending shooting hoops and pumping iron? Are you the last man on the planet to recognize how incredibly fat we’ve become, not how incredibly athletic and sinewy?

BMI is not a perfect measurement on an individual basis, but when looking at trends among large populations it makes an excellent standard. The old Metropolitan Life Tables, which did take into account three bone structure sizes, are utterly worthless for this purpose. In fact, they were darned hard to apply even on an individual basis. But if you’re so enamored of the MetLife table, you should be interested to know that the more recent one loosened up the standards for the simple reason that so few people were qualifying as “healthy” weight anymore. “Overweight” became “healthy” and “healthy” became underweight. We see the same thing in clothes, as dressmakers flatter fat women with size inflation. The result is a size four has been pushed down to a size two and a size two is a zero, as if the woman were vaporized. Yet as the population grew ever fatter, it happened all over again and even the more lax MetLife table shows we’ve become a nation of lard butts.

Lawsuits against fast food companies began last year; Koop made his first pronouncement about the “obesity epidemic” early enough that I was able to use it in the subtitle of my 1997 book. So it looks like your timing is off as much as your thinking.

Maybe a nation of round little kids who roll in and out of the SUV to feed their fast food addictions and then watch TV every waking moment doesn’t bother you, but it scares the hell out of anybody who doesn’t consider smoking, sloth, and gluttony to be a virtue.

Michael Fumento

Sorry, but your arguments still don't wash. Rather than confining yourself to proclamations from the Surgeon General and press releases from trial lawyers who are sniffing at a big financial payoff, try learning something from an objective viewpoint:

[omitted] Long

Dear Mr. Long:

Sorry, but if my arguments did “wash” you’d be the last to comprehend it. There are no proclamations from the Surgeon General nor press releases from trial lawyers mentioned in my piece. It relies entirely on primary data; data you just don’t happen to like. How many children must suffer because you put wishful thinking ahead of medical science? Meanwhile, I note that you think you can outweigh a piece full of medical references with an advertorial for fat acceptance written for a web-based lay publication. Is that your idea of trumping all the medical journals in existence, along with the entire U.S. health service and that of countless other countries that by some miraculous coincidence also think obesity is a terrible and growing problem? In any event, your fat balloon is about to be burst. I’ve written a rebuttal to that piece. You’ll be crying into your 128-ounce Extra Giant Double Slurpee and consoling yourself with a bag of popcorn bigger than an overstuffed pillow.

Michael Fumento

Dear Mr Fumento,

Ignore me as a pest but I can't deny the evidence of my own eyes.

  1. Recently returned from a visit to my daughter in Philadelphia and took my grandson to the playground in Clark Park, University City, where all children were slim including blacks (the area is mixed black and white middle class and adjoins poor black district). Admittedly there weren't many kids about that day.
  2. Driving home we stopped at service area on the NJ Turnpike for lunch on Sunday and I observed families. Saw only one child who could fairly be described as chubby, and he was black. My wife was getting a bit irritated with my interest in this subject. Oddly enough, there were quite a few fat or obese black adults on view but only the one kid.
  3. Last Saturday in Montreal's upper-middle-class Westmount Park (I had to kill time before a medical appointment) it was a beautiful day and there must have been two hundred kids of various ages. NOT ONE could be described as overweight, let alone obese. My wife got caught up in my "research" and
    could not spot any fat or chubby or stout youngsters either.

[omitted] Albert
Knowlton, P.Q.

Dear Mr. Albert:

Let’s put aside that you’re trying to substitute statistics from both my country and yours (Canada) with the observances of a single person. Has it occurred to you that if you’re surrounded by something you don’t notice it? Take a European vacation. When you come back, the sound you hear will be your jaw dropping repeatedly against the ground as your mind tries to cope with the vast numbers of fat adults and children you see.

Michael Fumento

Gulf War Syndrome Hate

Actually it’s More Just Plain Stupid

Mr. Fumento:

If the [sic] gulf war syndrome is not real (and I'm not sure myself), how can you explain the following?: [sic]

  1. the Washington, DC area sniper was a gulf [sic] war [sic] veteran
  2. the most recent killings in Tucson the killer was another veteran
  3. the killings in North Carolina of the wives of gulf [sic] war [sic] veterans

Can these all be just coincidental? My hypothesis is that these people were exposed to something that had severe central nervous system effects turning them into killers (perhaps schizophrenia?)

Dr. [omitted]
Associate Professor of Pharmacology
Howard University College of Medicine
Washington, DC

I cannot believe I am answering this, but here goes:

1. The Ft. Bragg, North Carolina killers were Afghanistan vets, not Gulf War vets.
Therefore we are talking about a grand total of two Gulf vet murderers that you’ve identified for this year.

*2. In 2001 there were 1,413 murders committed by males in the age category of 25-29. (If you think I’m being arbitrary by choosing that category, for that of 20-24 it was 2,565 murders.) There are 9,538,000 American males in the 25-29 category. Therefore, there is one murderer per 6,750 in this age group. As it happens there were very close to 670,000 males deployed to the Gulf for Desert Storm. Thus, on average we would expect just by chance that 100 Desert Storm vets per year would be murderers. Remember, you've identified two. Therefore, unless you can dig up another 98 you have just postulated that Gulf vets are murdering people at only 2 percent the expected rate. *

3. Can this be coincidental? My hypothesis is that these people were exposed to something that has had a calming effect on their central nervous systems. That or there are some Howard University professors who ask really, really dumb questions and are probably sending students out into the world who can’t tell a prescription for cough syrup from rat poison.

Michael Fumento

The Real “Elites” Are Clerks Thank you, You are promulgating [sic] exactly the emotion that all affected Gulf War Veterans feed upon.Anger.You are providing an invaluable service to your country, and all of the malingering veterans that you so despise.As far as "elite" paratrooper status on your part.I seem to recall "elite" Fifth Group Special Forces,in an advance on Iraq, putting water in their HUMVEE.(sick).What a waste of good water. So much for your "self-proclaimed" elite status.You are an adept pencil pusher,endowed by self-glorification.You can join the ranks of "elite" ego-maniacs.E.G. [sic] -Hitler,Stalin,etc.As far as your diligent stance on GWS, how can you adhere an idiomatic declaration to a malady you claim doesn't exist?
HHC 2/5 CAV 1st CD

Dear Malingerer, *"I seem to recall . . ." That's the basis for everything people like you know about GWS. Studies? “Who needs 'em?” Statistics? “Who needs 'em?” Facts? "Who needs 'em? We don’t need no steenking facts! Everything you know about so-called GWS is rumor and innuendo. But if it gets you undeserved sympathy and undeserved disability payments, what more do you need?

Michael Fumento
a.k.a., a real veteran*


Post your DD214 [discharge papers] on your bogus website, and lets [sic] correlate your"elite" [sic] status with the reality of your pathetic "uneventful" heraldry.

Also Hq. does indeed include cavalry scouts in Bradley Fighting vehicles.Along [sic] with all other "elite"components(remember-you used the phrase first to describe yourself).The fact is,you've [sic] already lost you're disinformation campaign.GWS is indeed real.You [sic] run a poor,bitter [sic] website,based [sic] on some form of quasi-journalism. You're speaking like a queer.Post [sic] the DD214,coward.

*But why? After all, there are no "elite" soldiers. Green Berets put water in their fuel tanks – or so you tell me. But I do know this, for all your talk about "pencil-pushers" you work at HQ! No wonder you hate real soldiers. *

*Oh, and you've got a Bradley fighting vehicle (or theoretically could have one) in your unit, so you're a combat soldier. Funny that you didn't mention YOUR specific position, which is to say that you are indeed a pencil pusher. I'm not going to go through the trouble of digging out my Army file, finding my certificate, scanning it, and posting it for somebody who is sitting behind a monitor at HHC while real soldiers are fighting and dying for us in Iraq. In my unit, we were salivating for a chance at seeing action. You'd rather live the easy life in Texas. Coward.

Michael Fumento
Yet Another Suffering Non-Vet “Vet”*

Hey Fumento! Gulf war [sic] II has started so you can put your theory to the test. After the war is over, go to Iraq and inspect bombed out vehicles. Make sure you enter the vehicles and breathe deeply. Give your readers a health report every six months.......aw hell make it every year or two. If you are in good health after five years ( If [sic] you are still alive) your theory of mass hallucinations will have some validity. Please respond. Yours truly,
Disabled Gulf War I Vet. [sic]

I’m sorry if I’m not into sniffing seats like you are. And while I never said that so-called GWS was a mass hallucination, I’m certainly willing to grant that certain persons such as you have individual hallucinations.

Michael Fumento

Hey Mikey!

You never addressed my request. Are you a journalist? The health of the free worlds [sic] veterans are in your hands. Go to Iraq after the war, witness the carnage, and your fans will monitor your health over the next few years. You are not serving your fellow veterans well when you are kicked back in a hotel room with a fag in your mouth writing about second hand info. Go Mikey! Go!!!!!!

Actually, like any former special ops soldier I’d give my right arm to be in Iraq during the fighting now, but then again I’d rather give yours.

Michael Fumento

Hey Mikey,

Just as I thought. You are horrified to find out the truth. Please don't tell anyone else you were in special ops. It demeans the whole organization. Bye Mikey.

Sorry, faker, but there's no such "organization" as special ops. If you had actually been in the military, you would know it crosses all the services and various parts of the Army and Marines. Obviously you're just another civilian pretender seeking "stolen valor."

Michael Fumento

Hi Mikey,

Be realistic. You were not in "Special Ops", only "Special Ed."

*You can try to be cute (and fail), but as I said you weren’t even in the military. I can look you up. What was your unit and when did you serve? *

Michael Fumento
[I never heard from him again.]

Low Exposure to Gray Matter

From BIGQD@[one of the internet services that caters to people who don’t know how to use the internet]:

[Written in 7.5 type.]
Michael, It seems you speak before having any knowledge of the situation. You write for Reason magazine----you would think you can "reason" that thousands of veterans would not be making up their symptoms-----have you even talked to any sick Gulf War veterans? Obviously not, by the lack of knowledge you exhibit concerning their symptoms. Now that there are studies coming out showing there is [sic] long term effects from low level sarin gas exposure and studies showing there is brain damage in gulf [sic] war [sic] veterans, I wonder if you'll continue to put your foot in your mouth and show your ignorance and lack of compassion or if you will apologize to the thousands of sick gulf [sic] war veterans who have been living (and dying) with "gulf [sic] war [sic] illness [sic]" for eleven years. It's all just another article or book to you but it's real people with real problems that you so easily a! nd [sic] hastil [sic]


It seems to me you with no knowledge of what I have written. Since the major piece I wrote for Reason, “Gulf Lore Syndrome,” contained interviews with many Gulf War vets who claim to be ill from their service, you obviously haven’t. There are NO studies coming out showing “there is [sic] long term [sic] effects from low level sarin gas exposure.” The immediate exposure those rodents received didn’t just give them brain damage, it killed many of them outright. How many Gulf vets died from acute exposure to sarin? Zero. How many reported neurological problems at the time? So far as we know, zero. I wonder if you’ll continue to put your foot in your computer and show your ignorance and lack of compassion to the hundreds of thousands of Gulf vets who bravely served our country and must now suffer the slings and arrows of being told by yahoos such as yourself that they are at severe risk for a disease that happens not to exist. And with a new Gulf war looming, I wonder how happy people like you have made Saddam Hussein.

Michael Fumento
** The World’s Busiest Doctor**

Subject: Gulf War Syndrome

Since it does not exist, please contact Dr. Gordon at the VA hospital in Manchester, NH and ask him about the 750 vets he treats daily that have been diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome. After eight years my son became number 751. Denial is part of the whole thing, he was a paratrooper with the 27th [Engineer Battalion, Ft. Bragg] and served in the Gulf for the whole tour, the symptoms do escalate, and it is not just Sarin [sic] (he was just outside of Kamisaya [please correct spelling] blowing up everything left over for two weeks during the first two weeks of March). It was the PB [pyridostigmine bromide] pills, the shots, the enormous amounts of deet [sic], the sarin in the air, radiation from blowing up tankers, and on and on. Combine them all and then explain why there is no Gulf War Syndrome. You also must have interviewed the wrong people-there were constant symptoms just from taking the PB pills, many were ill during the tour from the chemical agents in the air and radiation, 5 out of 10 in Bob's squad have had serious problems and he is trying to find the rest. I have watched my son struggle with these problems and others for eight years, he finally went to the va [sic] and guess what his diagnosis is-Gulf War Syndrome caused by nerve agents. Time to update your site. His Mother!

Dear His Mother:

Let’s do a bit of math here. Your Dr. Gordon treats 750 vets “daily” diagnosed with GWS. That means that in an eight-hour work day he treats about 94 Gulf vets per hour. Quite a work load, is it not? So your story is false; we need go no further. But let’s, just for fun. Neither VA nor DOD recognize GWS as an illness. One maverick doctor once tried to label some of his patients as having it and was disciplined.

You can’t even take the time to look up the spelling of Khamisiyah (which also means you haven’t bothered reading my GWS articles, because they would tell you how to spell it.) But you do know for a fact what causes GWS. Nevertheless, there’s not a shred of evidence to back up your “super-cocktail” theory. “Tankers” were not blown up; those big heavy things with treads are called “tanks.” Many were destroyed with depleted uranium shells, but those were Iraqi tanks. If anybody were to be harmed by radioactive particles from those shells they would be Iraqis, not Americans, and they would probably already be dead from the explosion itself. The Iraqis have no depleted uranium munitions or armor, so your son blew none up. Nobody at the time reported being ill from radiation or chemical agents. Only years later did they start making those claims. Moreover, the symptoms they complain of rarely if ever match those of persons know to have been exposed to radioactive or chemical agents.

I don’t get my data from interviewing individuals, although it is of interest what they say and think. My epidemiological data are from studies involving sometimes over half a million Gulf vets compared to over half a million non-Gulf vets. Those figures show Gulf vets are no sicker than those who didn’t deploy and no more likely to be dead or have problems with offspring. Data on some of the chemical weapons begins with their development in the 1930s and goes up to the Tokyo subway sarin attack. No Gulf vet had symptoms like the subway victims. The insecticide DEET is regularly used by millions of Americans for much of each year. PB pills have been safely prescribed for decades at dosages absolutely dwarfing those received by Gulf vets.

Finally, you’ve made it obvious you’ve never visited my site, but merely heard about it from somewhere else like most of the silly GWS writers I hear from. Don’t go telling people to update what you’ve never bothered to look at.

Michael Fumento

Dr. Gordon treats 750 vets yearly for GWS. Now 751. Gulf War Syndrome is called nerve agent damage. No I didn't bother looking up the spelling as I have seen it spelled too many ways on the internet [sic]. I knew you would do it for me.

Also the tanks that were completely destroyed after march [sic] 4th by the 27th engineers [sic] battalion [sic] did in fact emit uranium radiation.

It is not true that the soldiers were not immediately ill during and after chemical warnings, intense migraine headaches were immediate, fighting and arguing in the squad was immediate, they were all irritable, not only from the chemical dust but from the pb [sic] pills. The dust contained Sarin [sic]. You were not there for eight months so I would say [sic] that my paratrooper son and his squad are all lying. Not so I say. But you can resolve this by calling Dr. Gordon at the VA hospital in Manchester, NH and talking to him. Our government has already admitted that we blew up 7 tons of Sarin (sarin) by mistake-they have contacted by mail supposedly 20,000 soldiers who were in the vicinity. Like you, my son did not believe this either so he just kept throwing that paper work [sic] in the trash-until his three pages of symptoms became too much. I think you may find that established medical centers for GWS are available and thank heaven the va [sic] physicians do believe in it and acknowledge it by that name. Whether caused by Sarin [sic], PB pills, burning oil fields, vaccines and shots, constant use of deet [sic], the end result is nerve damage to the brain and body. This is called Gulf War Syndrome. Your site on GWS is very old-you really need to update your knowledge.

Regarding Tokyo subway incident [sic]-respiratory problems and eye problems are certainly evidenced in Gulf War Veterans. I did read that site and the problems they experienced. DEET is not normally used in the great amounts it was in Iraq and PB pills make people violent-all the soldiers in Bobs [sic] unit he took them [sic] were immediately ill. Period. I think the mothers of American soldiers will overcome you.

Dear His Mother:

Bottom line: You haven’t the least idea how many patients your Dr. Gordon has, but if you ask him very politely he will tell you that he doesn’t give out diagnoses of “Gulf War Syndrome.” The VA doesn’t allow it. Funny how in the last letter you were convinced GWS was the result of a combination of about 83 different things, but now suddenly it’s all called “nerve agent damage.” Never mind that there’s no evidence that any troops had any real exposure to nerve agents. (And no, PB pills don’t constitute a nerve agent, as you imply. It’s a medicine the FDA approved decades ago and does not cause violent reactions.) DoD caved into political pressure and declared wrongly that some soldiers may have had “some” exposure to sarin, but also that it would have been absolutely miniscule. Perhaps you’ve heard the expression “the dose makes the poison.” Then again, you probably haven’t. Your assertion about blowing up “seven tons” of the chemical is a fabrication. All we know for sure is that some 122 millimeter rockets containing sarin were destroyed. It would take one heck of a lot of 122 mm rockets to contain seven tons, wouldn’t it? And how bizarre that you can’t even properly identify your own son’s alleged unit. It’s “Engineer,” singular.

You can throw out one “in fact” after another until you’re blue in the face. There are many good web sites on Soviet-made tanks, including all types the Iraqis used. That you won’t bother to look them up doesn’t change that. No Iraqi tank had DU armor; no Iraqi shell or rocket was made with such metal. You’re just plain full of it. Moreover, inquiries after the Kosovo war, in which much DU ordinance was fired, found no evidence to substantiate claims that DU residue causes any harm.

*Indeed, virtually nothing you say has any substance anywhere other than the alleged claims of your son and his unit members. And they would have no way of knowing. I served in that very unit for three years and we were constantly told by our officers, “That’s on a need to know basis and you don’t need to know.” The complaints of those claiming to suffer GWS were not made during the war not during the following two years. Only much later did soldiers suddenly “recall” certain alleged exposures and symptoms. *

I don’t think I have much to fear from mothers who don’t realize the extreme difficulty of treating 750 patients in a single day. My website is kept up to date, but your rumors and innuendo are very old. You need to enlarge your cranial capacity.

Michael Fumento *

No, I don’t See Your Point Yet Michael,

I was a member of the 37th Eng. Bn. that blew the bunkers at Khamisiyah. I have had migraines, night sweats, and some joint pain since that time. Now I'm having more joint pain than before, but, it is manageable for now. The headaches are tough to deal with on a regular basis.

According to the article I read on the internet that you wrote, you think the Gulf War Syndrome is "phony." I can't say with absolute surety that my symptoms, as well as many others in my unit, are from the chemical weapons we destroyed. However, for you to say it is "phony" seems irresponsible at best. The government, civilian agencies, and individuals have spent millions of dollars researching this theory of Gulf War Illness. Why would all of these folks research this possibility if it is "phony"? It is a complex issue, which as a proud war veteran I don't appreciate being classified as being phony

Andrew [omitted]

Dear Andrew,

If you had actually bothered to read the article you would have seen that nowhere was GWS referred to as “phony” or “fake” or by any other such synonym. What I said was that every major study of GWS ever done has shown that while some Gulf vets are sick and some are dead, they are no sicker and no more are dead than would be expected among a group that size of that age. You are a case in point. A third of all Americans have arthritis, according to a just-released CDC report. Virtually everybody gets a severe headache or outright migraine at some point and night sweats commonly accompany fevers. It would be downright amazing if over the last decade you didn’t have any of those symptoms. But since you were at Khamisiyah you figure your presence there may be the cause of your problems. The 99.9999 percent of Americans with the same symptoms who weren’t there have to blame something else.

*The tests you speak of keep being done and redone and redone because according to the veteran lobbyist groups and their champions in Congress, including anti-war activists like Rep. Mike Shays who voted to let Saddam keep Kuwait, they’re not being done right. How do we know that? Because they keep finding nothing, including when they say they might have found something as with ALS.

Finally, nobody’s saying you shouldn’t be proud of your service as a Gulf vet. But everybody gets sick and everybody eventually dies. That is the fate of all of us, and nobody ever promised you that if you served your country in its hour of need that you would be exempt.*

Michael Fumento