It's bad enough when Congress blindly goes along with a deceitful war-mongering president when he decides it's time for regime change in the Middle East. But to then underfund research that would help the soldiers whose lives are destroyed as the result is simply inexcusable. You see, having already caved in to the hawks at the Pentagon--who are loyal to the military-industrial complex and the oil industry not the American people--concerning the decision to go to war in the first place, now the Republicans who control Congress are going along with the Pentagon once again by cutting the budget for the Brain Injury Center--a research institute whose stated goal is to treat and understand war-related brain injuries--from $14 million to $7 million (see here for details).
When asked to defend this unpardonable decision, Jenny Manley--spokeswoman for the Senate Appropriations Committee--had the following to say, "Honestly, they would have loved to have funded it, but there were just so many priorities...they didn't have any flexibility in such a tight fiscal year." I wonder what priorities Manley had in mind. Perhaps she was thinking about the palace in Baghdad that is costing an estimated $600 million to build (see here for details).
No, the real reason funding has been slashed is that the Center's researchers have had the audacity to suggest that between 10%-20% of the soldiers fighting this administration's ill-conceived "war on terror" end up suffering from concussions, and "many experience headaches, disturbed sleep, memory loss and behavior issues after coming home."
As a result of these findings, the Center recommended that the Pentagon screen all troops returning from Iraq in order to treat victims and to collect important data about brain-related injuries--an admittedly costly suggestion the Pentagon has predictably rejected until more research is conducted. Ironically, the research they say they need is now less likely to be conducted given Congress's shocking willingness to support the Pentagon lock and step. If nothing else, it makes their constant flag-waving all the more disingenuous and distasteful. After all, it turns out that our elected officials are more than happy to send soldiers off to war, they just don't want to pay to take care of the ones who get broken along the way. What could possibly be less patriotic than that?
*Cross-posted at truth to power