A USA TODAY survey of four military installations reveals the number of Iraq war soldiers who have been classified as wounded in action is actually almost five times the number reported by the Pentagon. For example, Marine Lance Cp. Gene Landrus was wounded by a bomb blast but since it impacted his brain rather than his body, the lack of a physical wound meant he was not classified as being wounded even though he suffers from nausea, dizziness and memory loss. The USA TODAY investigation discovered that 20,000 soldiers showed signs of damage but they were not classified as being wounded in action.
According to a memo written by Assistance Secretary of Defense Ellen Embrey, the military lacks “a standardized definition of traumatic injury or a uniform system to report all (traumatic brain injury) cases.” There is some evidence as many as 150,000 troops have suffered brain injuries in combat according to Rep. Bill Pascrell, founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. “I am wary that the number of brain-injured troops far exceeds the total number reported injured,” he said. The USA TODAY report indicates:
Fort Hood, Texas, at last 2,700 soldiers suffered a combat brian injury.
Fort Carson, Colorado, more than 2,000 soldiers were screened for having a brain injury.
Camp Pendleton, Virginia, at least 1,7\27 Marines were found to have suffered a brain injury.
VA hospitals found about 19% of 61,285 screened had brain injuries.
The American people still don’t realize the true cost of the Bush fiasco in Iraq will run into trillions of dollars when the care for wounded veterans extends into the coming decades. The only “Mission Accomplished” was doing damage to the health and welfare of thousands of our brave fighting men and women.