An investigation by USA Today has revealed 20,000 military personnel with signs of traumatic brain injuries have not been recorded as part of the wounded troop count by the Pentagon. Troops are coming home with symptoms that fit the effects of brain injuries: memory problems, dizziness, nausea, but they have not all been properly screened (or offered rehabilitation) for brain injuries. They may have received a cursory check on the battlefield and then inadequate follow-up from our over-extended VA:
A USA TODAY survey of four military installations and the Department of Veterans Affairs, where combat veterans are routinely screened for brain injury, has found that about 20,000 people show signs of damage. They are not counted in the Pentagon’s official tally of 30,000 war wounded.
The military lacks “a standardized definition of traumatic injury or a uniform process to report all TBI (traumatic brain injury) cases,” Assistant Secretary of Defense Ellen Embrey wrote in a memo last month. As a result, it is hard to determine the scope of the problem, she wrote.
Not so hard to determine the scope of the problem if you are with a newspaper who smells a story. One the other hand, if you are part of an administration fighting hard to only present the good news about this catastrophic invasion and occupation, then yes, it would be hard to determine the scope of the problem. After all, recording and treating long-term injuries to vets makes the cost of war more clear, which in turn can dampen people’s enthusiasm for war. (In case your wondering how long this administration will try and ignore veterans’ injuries, you should know they are also moving legislation to block coverage for some Viet Nam era vets exposed to Agent Orange.)
No indication that the Pentagon plans to revise the number of troops wounded in Iraq… their argument is that they don’t count wounds that are discovered after someone leaves Iraq. Just like they are not counting the suicides as lives lost to the battlefield since they are not deaths “on” the battlefield
Bottom line: this war is costing us more American lives than the administration will admit, and thirty years from now, they may still be denying its horrible effects.