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      Notes on Iraq by Paul Sullivan

      The press continues claiming the Iraq War is over.  Since there never officially was an "Iraq War," something that didn't ever start can't ever finish...

      Under the law, 38 USC 101(33), the Persian Gulf War began August 2, 1990, and ends only when the President signs an Executive Order or Congress passes a law ending the conflict (Public Laws 102-1, 102-25, and 107-243). To date, President Obama and Congress have not acted to officially, legally, and finally end the damned war after 21 years, 4 months, and 20 days. What does that mean? The U.S. can still bomb Iraq anytime. In a twisted irony, keeping the war going also means veterans have better access to VA healthcare and benefits.

      What's the solution?  We want the war to end, so President Obama must officially sign an EO ending the conflict in Iraq. However, he should maintain veterans' access to VA healthcare and benefits by declaring the areas around Iraq (such as Kuwait) as well as the nation of Afghanistan and surrounding countries as a region for imminent danger.  This opens up the door for additional pay for our service members as well as post-war VA benefits for veterans who deployed to those zones (for example, the GI education benefits would remain open, and five years of free healthcare would remain open).

      The bottom line: Until President Obama actually signs an EO or law ending the Gulf War - turned - Iraq War, the conflict continues.

      Paul Sullivan is on the Board of Directors at Veterans for Common Sense and is the Executive Director of National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Contact him at

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