by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
It is always interesting to see how an article is sculpted by the public relations professionals whose job it is to determine what we think. The recent announcement from the White House titled, "Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012" is a good example of how spin is provided, changing an issue from appalling and shocking to positive.
It was good of President Obama to tacitly admit veterans and their families had been subjected to poisons while serving their country at Camp Lejeune for thirty years, 1957 through 1987. Such admissions are still rare, either from government or from corporations, as many now realize.
However, the lapse of around 35 years from the time the pollutant problem was, evidently, solved, is a point which is completely dropped, with your attention focused on the issue of respect for those who have died for their country.
The bill, promising health benefits to the million people who were exposed to contaminated water at a North Carolina base, was signed last Monday. No compensation for wrongful death was included in the provision. Promises for change remain promises made by people who, through all administrations, have been lax in policing themselves.
Jerry Ensminger, of Elizabethtown, N. C., attended the signing ceremony. His daughter, Janey died in 1985 of a rare form of childhood leukemia. She was 9.
The number of victims who died waiting was not mentioned. Many of these deaths may never be attributed to their actual cause. Soldiers, who suffered from a rare form of male breast cancer, were left to struggle with their problems for years as, they said, government tried to hide the problem and officials failed to respond.
The cynical observer might note it is likely the majority of the victims of the pollution have already died.
So why as this issue suddenly surfaced? It could be the advance of technology, making it possible to definitely ascribe a specific source to the cause of death. Or it could be a political move on the part of the present re-election campaign.
Camp Lejeune was a superfund site, listed as such. Cleaning up these sites has been mandated since 1980. On November 29, 2010, there were 1280 Superfund sites found on the National Priorities List from every contiguous state.
Three sites are listed for Ashtabula County. How far are you from one? Check it out.