October 25, 2011

Manchin Statement on Qarmat Ali Report

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today issued the following statement about a Defense Department report detailing what happened to 122 West Virginians in the National Guard who were exposed to potentially lethal levels of chemicals in Iraq. Nearly a year past its deadline, the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Defense released its final report explaining the circumstances around the chemical exposure, which took place at Iraq’s Qarmat Ali water treatment facility in 2003. 

In June, Senator Manchin successfully worked with his Democratic and Republican colleagues to include a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that would require the Department of Defense to report to the servicemembers, their families and the American people about what happened in the Qarmat Ali water treatment facility. The Department of Defense had issued a partial report in September 2009, but key questions remained unanswered because the release of the second half of the report has been overdue since late 2010. 

“I’m glad I could play a role in helping our National Guard finally get answers in this terrible, deadly situation,” Senator Manchin said. “This can never happen again, and as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will work hard to make sure that the right safeguards are in place to protect all the men and women serving our country. For those West Virginians who were affected by these chemicals, my office will work with anyone who was affected to get the treatment they need.”