Cut and Run Republicans, Part 3

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Republicans love the military to death... literally. I have written before on the right wing propensity for waving the flag and lionizing our troops when it suits their political purposes; then abandoning our fighting men and women if they are injured (and their families if they die.) In a truly brazen move during a war the signature injury of which is brain injury, a Republican led Pentagon and Republican House and Senate are slated to cut in half the funding for the military's brain injury treatment facilities. The details can be found in the Raleigh News & Observer and in this blog (contains worthwhile action steps). As the Observer reports:

Brain injuries are so common among U.S. troops that they're called the signature injury of the Iraq war, but Congress is poised to cut military spending on researching and treating them.

House and Senate versions of the defense appropriation bill would chop funding for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center from $14 million to $7 million. The center runs 10 facilities across the country, including one at Fort Bragg that has performed research and treated soldiers' injuries since 1998.

"It's just ridiculous," said Sgt. Maj. Colin Rich, a Fort Bragg soldier who has been legally blind since he was shot in the head while serving in Afghanistan in 2002. "Whoever is cutting the budget must have a head injury themselves."

"With the bombs, the gunshot wounds and everything else, their plate is full," he said. "They need that money."

The Pentagon asked only for $7 million and didn't respond properly when congressional staffers tried to find out whether it needed more money for the program, said Jenny Manley, a spokeswoman for the Senate appropriations committee.

"The Pentagon needs to get behind the things that they want," she said. "Otherwise, we'd just be kind of guessing about what they really need."

Pentagon budget experts did not respond Monday to a request for information on why they had not sought more money.