Army Gen. David Petraeus called it America’s “sacred obligation” to care for service members exposed to burn pits.
“We need to meet that obligation,” the retired four-star said last year.
At a first-of-its-kind hearing last summer, Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., an Afghanistan veteran and former explosive ordnance disposal specialist said “the chemical attacks we really needed to fear were coming from within our own camps.”
Congress’ progress to meet that sacred obligation so far includes nearly two dozen separate pieces of legislation as of September 2019 to address the issues of burn pits and toxic exposures to varying degrees -- few of which have passed out of either chamber. But a comprehensive bill likely won’t appear until next year.
During the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, as many as 63 burn pits blazed across the country, according to the Defense Department. At the peak of their use in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the Defense Department and military contractors operated 250 burn pits.