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Tilting at Windmills

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November 25, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

CASUALTIES....Hey, the Pentagon has underreported brain trauma injuries among returning vets by about 500%. What a surprise, eh?

Kevin Drum 2:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (31)

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Comments

Luckily, the media have been there from day one, cutting through BushCo's lies.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on November 25, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Not only are the injuries underreported, TBI is far worse than previously thought.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 25, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Not to sound snarky in a serious matter, but shouldn't this be described as underreported by 80 percent? While one can overreport by multiples in excess of 1, one cannot really underreport in excess of 100 percent.

Posted by: q on November 25, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

And Bush will find a way to try to not pay all of these medical bills.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on November 25, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't it be awesome if Congress or the Executive Branch had oversight abilities and cared enough to look into this matter? Try to imagine Secretary Gates caring about this problem--I bet you can't do it.

Posted by: reino on November 25, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

[Handle Hijack by TOH deleted.]

Posted by: ChoiceLover on November 25, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

ChoiceLover: If you want free speech, start your own blog. If you're nice to your Mom, she'll read it, and you'll have an audience. At this point, it is impossible to intelligently defend George Bush. If you think anybody learned anything from Al and the other silly Conservatives who posted comments on this site (some of whom continue to do so), you are wrong. Have a nice day.

Posted by: reino on November 25, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

I like the new shrillness here, but what does
it mean to say underreported brain trauma injuries among returning vets by about 500%. Do you mean by 80%?

Posted by: gregor on November 25, 2007 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Obtuse Histrionic: First of all, "intelligently defend George W. Bush" is an impossibility.

Second: Stop fucking invoking me as a defender! I find you to be a joke and applaud deleting your frothing fuckwittery. You have never - never contributed one substantive, factual comment in this forum. You derail serious discussion.

One definition of insanity is continuing to perform the same action over and over, expecting a different result. All your comments are deleted, you you continue to post, and look like the unfortunate, pathetic loser you so obviously are. Sad really. Get help.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 25, 2007 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

"What a surprise, eh?"

Pure Canadian sardonic sentence structure. Its spreading. What a surprise, eh?

Posted by: anon on November 25, 2007 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

To be fair,the people in the Pentagon who are in charge of reporting these statistics suffer from a common type of brain trauma injury known as being a "Bush supporter".

The Republicans have no problem accusing Democrats of treason even when Democrats are trying to help soldiers by extending their leave time or providing more funds for the VA hospitals, and yet the Democrats have been largely unable (have they even tried?) to get political traction (i.e. not merely have a story blip in the MSM for a week or two, but to actually make the blame stick to the GOP) on the endless score of administration/GOP scandals involving the troops, e.g. the backdoor draft, lack of body and vehicle armor, discharging guardsmen a day short of when they would fully vest in their pensions, demanding repayment of signing bonuses for soldiers who are incapacitated by their wounds, hiding casualty figures, etc.

Republicans have no problem accusing Democrats of "hating the troops" for trying to take the troops out of harms way and bring them home. You'd think the Democrats would be able to get SOME kind of traction on stories like this.

You'd think. But they aren't even trying. Pelosi and Reid are as much the problem as Bush and the GOP. Pelosi took impeachment "off the table", which only emboldened the administration and the GOP. And why? It appears that they've decided the best political strategy is to keep their heads down until the next election, the consequences be damned (so much for accountability, the rule of law, the Constitution, our troops, our country, etc. etc.).

You know the country is screwed when even the people who are supposed to be on your side aren't.

I guess the Democrats are suffering from their own brain trauma injury known as Stockholm Syndrome.

Posted by: Augustus on November 25, 2007 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

...the backdoor draft, lack of body and vehicle armor, discharging guardsmen a day short of when they would fully vest in their pensions, demanding repayment of signing bonuses for soldiers who are incapacitated by their wounds, hiding casualty figures, etc.

Interesting how that sounds just like working for a really bad corporation or how you get jerked around by private health insurance companies...

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on November 25, 2007 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

It worries me, as I've got a son who has survived two concussions after having his Hummvee mangled while he was driving it with EFPs. Both times, everybody survived (if you call his gunner losing a leg a survivor).

He's back in Germany, and supposedly scheduled to have head examined already.

Now to get the other son and his wife out of Iraq safely - they got deployed this summer.

Posted by: Bryan Price on November 25, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Ad begins with a shot of a republican saying "the Republican Party supports our troops..."

"the Republican Party supports our troops..."

"the Republican Party supports our troops..."

"the Republican Party supports our troops..."

"the Republican Party supports our troops..."

"the Republican Party supports our troops..."

"the Republican Party supports our troops..."

"the Republican Party supports our troops..."

Black screen. Plain white lettering.

"By their actions you shall know them."
-Mathew 7:16

standard political disclaimers in ultra-small (and therefor pointless) text at the bottom.

Posted by: An Anonymous American Patriot on November 25, 2007 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

They find that even when there are no outward signs of injury from the blast, cells deep within the brain can be altered, their metabolism changed, causing them to die, says Geoff Ling, an advance-research scientist with the PENTAGON.


This cellular death [...blast experiments in recent years on animals, followed by microscopic examination of brain tissue.] leads to SYMPTONS THAT MAY NOT SURFACE FOR MONTHS OR YEARS, Cernak says. The symptoms can include memory deficit, headaches, vertigo, anxiety and apathy or lethargy. "These soldiers could have HIDDEN INJURIES with long-term consequences," he says.

To make matters worse, whatever damage occurred was so microscopic that it COULD NOT BE FOUND WITH IMAGING TESTS.

Concerned about the potential number of wounded, CONGRESS this year AUTHORIZED $150 MILLION for brain injury research in an emergency spending bill passed in May for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Posted by: majarosh on November 25, 2007 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

That ad segment was ruined (but take my word for it, it was very clever)...I never understand this comment section's formatting..and no way to edit. Ah well, even at my dumbest I still come across looking smarter than TOH.

Posted by: An Anonymous American Patriot on November 25, 2007 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

majarosh, I'm never gonna have a Nobel in medicine that isn't chocolate on the inside, and I could spend $150 million in three months just setting up a modest lab and hiring a handful of laboratory and research assistants.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 25, 2007 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

majarosh: "CONGRESS this year AUTHORIZED $150 MILLION" [all-caps are in the original, don't blame me.]

Excellent. I work in a 60-person company with an annual budget of $15 million. Our services are obviously not comparable to those providing neurologically specialized health care; but my back-of-the-envelope guess is that ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION really looks a lot more like (imagine subscript type) oh point one five billion. Same number, but a more appropriate presentation.

Oh, yeah, my house is a (big type) BROILING TWO HUNDRED NINETY ONE DEGREES (small type) Kelvin. I'm wearing a sweater.

Posted by: anonymous on November 25, 2007 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

BGRS, Now I know what to get you for Christmas,the chocolate, not a lab.

My guess is the research money will be spent on setting up a data base with interviews and anecdotal evidence, similiar to PTSD. Since symptoms can lay dormant for months or even years and the condition can not be detected by imaging tests, I don't think there will be a need to set up a lab and hire staff. If there is a need for a lab, I imagibe the Pentagon or the VA or both could handle it.
There is a lab test that can diagnose the condition, but it requires killing the patient and performing microscopic studies of the brain tissue. Probably not a viable option.
I agree more money needs to be appropriated for TBI research and I plan to write my representatives requesting so and will pass the articles on to my on-line veteran groups.
I would encourage anyone who is concerned about this to contact their representatives and to help spread the word.


Posted by: majarosh on November 25, 2007 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

You beat me to it, Gregor. Although an increase of 500% would be the same as multiplying by 6. So by underreporting by 500%, I'm guessed that meant underreporting of 83.3% to you an me. But the article says there was a factor of 5, so Kevin probably meant to say it was underreported by 400%.

Posted by: jussumbody on November 25, 2007 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

As someone who lives with a brain-injured spouse due to an auto accident I certainly feet that $150 mil is a trifling sum to study TBI in returning soldiers. The very first thing you learn, and it's very true, is that every head injury is different and each victim of TBI responds and reacts differently. In my case my wife has severely damaged abilities related to cognitive reasoning without mentioning the physical disability from being in a coma for 5 weeks and having to relearn to walk.

These returning troops, and their families, will be struggling with these hidden injuries for decades to come and I shudder to think just how inadequate our VA system will prove to be!

Posted by: Tommy Harper on November 25, 2007 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, it's all an honest mistake: the Bush crowd doesn't think the human brain has any innate value. Indeed, it gets in the way of their agenda. Therefore loss of brains is on no way considered a negative. (The trolls here operate quite freely without them, for example.)

Posted by: Kenji on November 26, 2007 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not certain what Mr. Drum means by the "What a surprise, eh?" comment. It's common for military people to ignore or fail to report injuries while still involved in operations, only to pay closer attention to them when back home and they have time to reflect on what really has happened to them. That's why the VA discovers so many injuries missed by the Services.

My nephew received one of his Purple Hearts from an RPG explosion next to his head, after which he could not hear for some days. He was back on missions soon thereafter. He's separating from the Army next week and I've advised him to make sure the injury is fully documented in his medical records. It makes it easier if he later needs assistance from the VA and makes a potential claim for Service-related disability easier, as well.

Posted by: trashhauler on November 26, 2007 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

Not to mention that jerk at the VA who recently denied a young soldier's disability claim because he or she wrote that the shrapnel wounds covering the soldier's body were "Not Service Connected" - The reason I typed "he or she" is because the gutless one cut out his/her name from the paper work.

Posted by: bert on November 26, 2007 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

SocraticGadfly: And Bush will find a way to try to not pay all of these medical bills.

He already has . . .

http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/11/15/wounded.marine/index.html?iref=newssearch

Goes right along with his attempts to repeal hazard pay to our troops in harm's way.

truthmauler: That's why the VA discovers so many injuries missed by the Services.

No, the VA simply doesn't want to pay because the Bush administration is trying to save money by cheating our soldiers, rather than taxing those wealthy Americans who demanded the war in the first place but don't want to pay for it.

Posted by: anonymous on November 26, 2007 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

truthmauler: I'm not certain what Mr. Drum means by the "What a surprise, eh?" comment.

Sure you are.

But as an apologist for Bush and a traitor to your own nephew you have to pretend otherwise.

Posted by: anonymous on November 26, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not certain what Mr. Drum means by the "What a surprise, eh?" comment.

Yeah - hmmm - what could Kevin possibly have meant? I mean, it's not like the egregious underreporting of bad news is at all typical of the Bush Administration.

Still, really good question.

On another note, don't you hate people who feign ignorance? I certainly do.

Posted by: chuck on November 26, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Yeah - hmmm - what could Kevin possibly have meant? I mean, it's not like the egregious underreporting of bad news is at all typical of the Bush Administration."
_____________________

It was just that such an open-ended slap could refer to anything - incompetence, malfeasance, or some sort of conspiracy. Mr. Drum didn't specify, so I don't know. Still don't, for that matter.

Not that it matters much exactly he meant. He was throwing it out there as red meat for your frothing-at-the-mouth types, which I suppose suits some purpose of his.

Don't you get annoyed at people who make vaguely accusatory statements that are designed to incite rather than illuminate?

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 26, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Truthmauler: Don't you get annoyed at people who make vaguely accusatory statements that are designed to incite rather than illuminate?

I get annonyed at people (like you) who make dishonest non-illuminative statements in defense of corruption and criminality in order to promote a partisan agenda at the expense of our soldiers.

. . . red meat for your frothing-at-the-mouth types . . .

Hmmmmm . . . vaguely accusatory and designed to incite rather than illuminate.

You must be very annoyed at yourself!

Posted by: anonymous on November 26, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

"I get annonyed at people (like you) who make dishonest non-illuminative statements in defense of corruption and criminality in order to promote a partisan agenda at the expense of our soldiers."
_______________________

All you have to do is point out any dishonest statement that I've made in defense of corruption and criminality and I'll either defend it or correct it. It'll help if you also explain how any statement you come up with is overtly partisan.


Posted by: Trashhauler on November 26, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

red meat for your frothing-at-the-mouth types

Yes, again, what could there possibly be to froth out the mouth over? Hmmm . . . let me see.

- a completely unnecessary and illegal war that has cost this country tens of thousands of dead and wounded, half a trillion dollars (so far, and that's not counting interest), lasted longer than almost any war in our history with no end in sight, has invited the condemnation of the rest of the world, was itself based on a mountain of lies (look! WMD! Al Quaeda! Winnebagoes of death!). Did I mention 2 million Iraqis displaced and (this is a wildly conservative figure) tens of thousands killed?

And that's just for starters.

But nothing to see folks. Go ahead a move on. Get angry about Whitewater or something. Or maybe Clinton's claim that he "didn't inhale." Wow - now THAT'S red meat for you "frothing at the mouth types" if I've ever seen it!

Posted by: chuck on November 26, 2007 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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