‘Stun and Strand’

I was pleasantly surprised to learn from your article (Dec. 18) that our defense Establishment is endeavoring to perfect weapons that will “stun and strand” rather than “kill” the enemy.

As commendable and refreshing as this concept appears, given our focus over the years on the enemy’s destruction and annihilation by nuclear and other means, it does nonetheless evoke some concern by me and others involved with the medical care of our veterans. As one struggles with the pathologic consequences of toxic exposures during the Vietnam conflict and later with Desert Storm (multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome) one wonders (allowing for national security of course) to what extent physicians caring for veterans will be rendered knowledgeable about the potential toxicities of low-energy lasers, polymers, isotropic radiators, DSMO calmative drug combinations, and other agents so nicely detailed in your article.

Invariably, certain of our military service personnel, inadvertently or otherwise, will fall victim to these materials. Our therapeutic response therefore will have to be swift and effective and without the encumberances of costly epidemiologic analysis. My plea is that we begin the necessary educational process now before political and public relations issues preempt our prerogatives in this regard.



Associate Chief of Staff

Ambulatory Care, Sepulveda Veterans

Affairs Medical Center