01/17/2006: Hidden costs?
About a week ago, I took note of Larry Johnson's criticism of President Bush joking about his being injured "in combat with a cedar". Via Brian Leiter yesterday we get this pointer to some more apt observations inspired by Bush's lack of compassion from Accidental Blogger:
We tend to count war casualties mainly by the number of dead. Understandable - the dead are easy to count. Much more difficult to quantify is the damage done to the injured, maimed, psychologically scarred and brain damaged. Some recover enough to return to more or less normal lives but far too many don't. With advances in medical science and med-vac operations on the battle field, many more of the injured are now living with disabilities that a few years ago would have killed a majority of them. This is a double edged sword. While the number of lives being saved has increased, so has the number living with life altering debilitation of body and mind. The affected are mostly very young who must adjust to living the rest of their lives with missing body parts and diminished minds.This, unfortunately, is the cost of Bush's Mess in Mesopotamia that we seem to be all too willing to sweep under the rug.
A growing number of U.S. troops whose body armor helped them survive bomb and rocket attacks are suffering brain damage as a result of the blasts. It's a type of injury some military doctors say has become the signature wound of the Iraq war.
Known as traumatic brain injury, or TBI, the wound is of the sort that many soldiers in previous wars never lived long enough to suffer. The explosions often cause brain damage similar to "shaken-baby syndrome," says Warren Lux, a neurologist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.
"You've got great body armor on, and you don't die," says Louis French, a neuropsychologist at Walter Reed. "But there's a whole other set of possible consequences. It's sort of like when they started putting airbags in cars and started seeing all these orthopedic injuries."
Len on 01.17.06 @ 08:01 PM CST