I watched the Bob Woodruff program detailing his recovery from serious brain injury — and the exposure of the Veterans Administration’s down playing of the real figures for the seriously wounded veterans returning from Iraq and Iran:



While the official figures for wounded are around 15,000, some 205,000 have actually been seeking medical help on their return (about 20%?).  We have heard much about post traumatic stress which some discount even though it is producing murders and suicides.

But the real scary fact is that far more soldiers are returning with invisible brain damage than previously reported.  High concussion blasts will bounce the brain back and forth against the skull with lasting harms such as loss of short term memories, depression, and personality change.  Such conditions are not always diagnosed by doctors unfamiliar with them — not trained to spot them in what looks like a physically undamaged head.  We have known the effects of these conditions since at least WW1 when “shell shock” was the term applied to those so damaged.  And we are all aware of the deadly affects on the brains of boxers getting bashed — particularly as their careers go into decline.

In the Woodruff report there was manifest and constant conflict between the Secretary of the Army and a first class doctor working with such vets’ brain damage on the real extent of the harms being done by the new types of concussive warfare being waged over there.

To extend the implications a bit, there was also no mention of the wounded Iraqis and Afghans who presumably are also suffering from this invisible form of brain damage.

The bottom line here is that the two wars using heavy concussion weapons are devastating many hundreds of thousands of people — both those fighting and those merely counted as collateral damage.  And if we extend our wars to Iran . . . ?

The brain is the all too frail organ in which our identify resides.  We should only put it at risk for the most critical reasons.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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