Of the nearly 24,000 wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, about a third suffer from some degree of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, according to the General Accounting Office.Brain injuries.
The government has been on the defensive about veterans' medical care after a probe found shoddy living conditions of recovering wounded at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, considered the jewel in the military's health care system.
A newly-appointed Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors was formed by U.S. President George Bush in response. A major topic is whether the civilian sector could be used more in treating traumatic brain injury, one of the fastest growing injuries of the war.
Losing a limb is one thing. Having shrapnel pierce your skin is one thing (my dad has lived into his 90s after having shrapnel nick his heart). Having your brains turned to scrambled eggs because of the concussive force of IED after IED?
That's a completely different kettle of fish.
With a corporeal injury, you see the damage, you fix the damage. Even with a physical trauma to the brain, you see the damage, you fix the damage.
But when you're talking about the effects that shock waves have on that 20 pound (in Republicans' case, about half that) mass of tissue, and what precisely it effects, you've got real problems that are long term and will require a lifetime of monitoring.
So 8,000 men and women have suffered brain damage in five years, just so this is put into perspective.
And the Bush administration's response? Outsource the problem! Here we have a chance as a nation to do right by people who may be irreparably harmed beyond repair, serving their country, and the first thing Bush's cronies can think is to help enrich their friends in the AMA and insurance fields.
Even if you take the most cynical view of this situation, that it's a marvelous opportunity to do research on brain function and trauma, this should be handled by the government, nevermind that the government not only ought to be footing the bill for this, but the government ought to have direct oversight over the treatment of these injuries suffered for an illegal invasion of a sovereign people who did nothing to harm Americans.
Pretty disgusting and feckless, if you ask me.