We just noticed the revised C-123 page on VA's web site. While
its code shows a date of 31 December 2013, I've read the page a couple times this month and it was the old version.
Here, VA has strengthened their barriers against our claims by analyzing many of the expert opinions in our favor.
Of course, no mention is made anywhere of challenges raised to this product of the VA's small Post Deployment Health Section...challenges from the CDC/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the NIH/National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, the US Public Health Service and many others. Challenges which have labeled the VA's work "unscientific," and worse!
Of course, VA continues to ignore the simple fact that the 1991 Agent Orange Act, and Title 38, and several postings in the Federal Register only specify "exposure," so this page's attempt to minimize our exposure is irrelevant...we were exposed.
VA...read the law. Read Yale's C-123 exposure brief. However, we still know that when faced with new evidence in our favor such as Yale's brief, VA's only response is – how to negate the favorable evidence. If they can't dispute it, they'll ignore it. Or redefine words just like they reinvented "exposure" to exclude C-123 veterans.
If opinions are offered by experts, VA denies their expertise even if the experts are internationally recognized authorities, VA researchers or heads of US government agencies! As Post Deployment Health has already determined and already informed us and Compensation & Pension Service (despite Under Secretary Hickey's and Secretary Shinseki's mistaken written assurances to the contrary) VA will never approve a C-123 Agent Orange exposure claim.
Regardless of any evidence, proof, testimony, research, opinions, whatever...officially VA has predetermined that all C-123 exposure claims will be denied, per Post Deployment Health. VA told the veterans. VA even told the US Army following a meeting with the veterans. It seems the only two people who don't know that VA has a blanket policy forbidding C-123 veterans' claims are Generals Hickey and Shinseki.
I'm only a retired major, but I don't think generals use different words..."blanket policy" does seem to cover any situation like ours, where C-123 veterans' denials are predetermined and insisted upon regardless of evidence or law.
If they knew, I'm sure these highly esteemed leaders would correct the situation, especially after the Secretary formally informed the Senate that no such blanket policy exists.