GOP Supports the Troops by Leaving 150,000 at Risk for Serious Brain Damage
This is a statement by Jonathan Powers, former Army Captain who served in Iraq, and associate director of Veterans for America, a new organization co-founded by the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation and The Justice Project. Veterans for America brings together generations of veterans committed to advancing advocacy, education and humanitarian efforts around the causes, conduct and consequences of war.
"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.This statement is by Bobby Muller, Chairman of Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation:
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a signature wound of the Iraq War, and given the 10 percent of soldiers already suffering from TBI, it is on the path to becoming one of the most frequent injuries suffered by our troops in Iraq. Our men and women who bravely serve in the U.S. armed forces are our Nation's number one most important military asset, yet Congress cannot find $19 million dollars in a defense appropriations bill that is likely to cost upwards of $370 billion?
How can members of Congress claim to be 'supporting the troops' while at the same time cut funding for one of the signature wounds of this war? When thousands struggle at this hour with a traumatic brain injury; when an estimated 150,000 will suffer a brain injury in this war, Congress should be increasing support, not decreasing it. America supports our troops - the priorities of this Congress are wrong."
"I am shocked and appalled to learn that Congress is not making the health of our soldiers fighting in Iraq a priority. The Iraq War is escalating, casualties are rising, yet Congress is on recess while their staff plans to slash desperately needed Traumatic Brain Injury research and treatment for our Nation's men and women fighting on the front lines.
Since September 11th, 2001, 1.5 million service members have been deployed overseas to the Global War on Terror (GWOT). More than 3,000 have died. 50,000 have been wounded, injured or become sick with a physical or mental condition. The VA has reported that as of May, 2006, nearly 168,500 GWOT veterans have been treated, and the Veterans Brain Injury Center estimates that up to 150,000 veterans may suffer TBI from war. This budget cut is a serious moral outrage, and I call on Congress to explain to these 1.5 million men and women why the brain injuries they suffer in war are not a top concern for our country. This is the time for Congress to do the right thing and implement a comprehensive plan that addresses the needs of our veterans."