Tag: veterans

Hiding the Cost of War: 20,000 Brain Injuries Among Vets Not Counted

Via Crooks and Liars: USA Today reports:

At least 20,000 U.S. troops who were not classified as wounded during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have been found with signs of brain injuries, according to military and veterans records compiled by USA TODAY.

....Soldiers and Marines whose wounds were discovered after they left Iraq are not added to the official casualty list, says Army Col. Robert Labutta, a neurologist and brain injury consultant for the Pentagon. More than 150,000 troops may have suffered head injuries in combat, says Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force.

As Logan at C&L notes:

Hiding the true human cost of their wars has proven difficult for the Bush administration. They don’t want the world to know about the real numbers of injured — or the staggering number of homeless vets or those who have killed themselves during or after their service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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John Edwards Introduces Plan for Vets With PTSD

John Edwards is announcing a plan to help veterans with PTSD today in New Hampshire.

Under Edwards' plan, veterans could seek counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder outside the Veterans Health Administration system; the number of counselors would increase; and family members would be employed to identify cases of PTSD.

PTSD among vets has increased 70% in the last fiscal year. There is currently a backlog of 600,000 claims.

Edwards said that despite his opposition to how the war has been waged, the enlisted men and women deserve the nation's support when they complete their service. "Warriors should never be ashamed to deal with the personal consequences of war."

The five point plan will cost $400 million, which Edwards proposes to fund "through closing tax loopholes and more efficient tax collection."

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Calif. Vet Needs Help Avoiding Mandatory Minimum

In September, I wrote about Sarge Brinkley, a young injured Army vet who returned to the U.S. addicted to pain pills. Once home, he robbed two pharmacies for percocet.

I'm writing again because his preliminary hearing is November 16, and he needs your help. Please send a letter to convince the D.A. to offer a reasonable deal.

A West Point graduate who is currently facing twenty-odd years in prison for robbing a Walgreens under California's minimum sentencing laws. He used a gun (unloaded) and robbed the drugstores of only Percocet - no money, harming nobody.

Here's the kicker -- he was addicted to the opiates after smashing his hip while serving abroad in the Army -- the military medical system
kept misdiagnosing him, and feeding him more of the painkillers. Add in some serious PTSD (he guarded mass graves in Bosnia from desecration at one point) and he spiraled down.

Sargent turned himself in, has been in a rehab program in county jail for over a year and a half while he awaits sentencing, and by all accounts is
doing well. The Santa Clara DA wants to chuck the book at him, and he'll be gone.

The California Report covered Sarge's case last week.


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