Friday, August 11, 2006

Brain Drain

Traumatic brain injury is the signature injury of the war on terrorism.
-- George Zitnay, Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center

Just when you might have thought Congress couldn't possibly exhibit any greater level of selfishness and cynicism, they always manage to find a way. The latest:
Congress appears ready to slash funding for the research and treatment of brain injuries caused by bomb blasts, an injury that military scientists describe as a signature wound of the Iraq war.

House and Senate versions of the 2007 Defense appropriation bill contain $7 million for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center — half of what the center received last fiscal year.
It is estimated that 150,000 troops will suffer some form of brain damage by the end -- if there is an end -- of this insanity. And the number of injured increases daily.

But if you think the action alone is bad enough, the reasoning is even worse. In light of the $300 billion spent on the Iraq fiasco, the constant pounding for ever more tax cuts, the billions in waste, fraud and abuse rife in government contracting, and billions in corporate welfare for an immensely profitable oil industry, we apparenty don't have $7 million to spend on injured veterans, as a simpering Jenny Manley, spokesperson for the Senate Appropriations Committee tells us:
Honestly, they would have loved to have funded it, but there were just so many priorities. They didn't have any flexibility in such a tight fiscal year.
So many priorities, in fact, that caring for seriously injured troops just didn't make the cut.

Over Veterans for America, Associate Director Jonathan Powers is simply aghast by this latest disgraceful congressional malfeasance:
Cutting funding for traumatic brain injury is a moral outrage, and that’s the bottom line. As an Iraq War veteran, I believe there is no greater decision our country can make than to decide to go to war, so there should be an equally high priority for Congress and the American people to provide medical care for our soldiers both on the battlefield and when they return home.
That seems obvious to reasonable heads. When are we going to get some of those on Capitol Hill?*

*For a comprehensive look at Congressional behaviour with the Defense budget, Dave Kisor points us to Winslow T. Wheeler's , The Wastrels of Defense:How Congress Sabotages U.S. Security. This will not give you confidence in those who are constantly banging the gong of national security, though it will give you some idea as to what those many other "priorities" might be.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Zhitney, you are a dead give agway for the Brain Injury Associations evil agenda! The one thing the brain injured veterans do not need is to be "put away" in one of your horrible, American Nazi camps marketed as head injury rehabs. You George should be ashamed of yourself for lobbing for this evil organization. You yourself admitted in one editorial the truth, that you believed the best care for brain injured is to remain in their own homes with family, as you admitted that you wittnessed for yourself hundreds of brain injured locked up like prisoners of war in those horrible fake so-called - Head injury rehabs, where all their rights were violated and where they are forced drugges and abused,and held as literal hostages for insurance and medicaid money! I pray the U.S. government shuts all your fake nasty facilies down. How much money do you make lobbing for the evil agenda of the Brain Injury Assoication? I do not see how you sleep at night? It is true.. the love of money is the root of ALL evil.

1:54 AM  
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