VFW lambastes plan to cut brain-injury research

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Possible cuts in funding for research into treatment of traumatic brain injuries are drawing sharp criticism from Veterans of Foreign Wars, the largest organization of combat veterans.
by Rick Maze

Jim Mueller, the VFW’s commander in chief, said a proposal before Congress for a 50 percent cut in funding clearly indicates that the Congress is out of touch with the realities and consequences of war.

You either take care of the troops or you do not, said Mueller, a Vietnam War veteran.

For our nation’s lawmakers to deny advanced research that our military has earned with their blood, and for those same lawmakers to espouse patriotism and Support the Troops’ rhetoric from the podium this election year, is shameful, hypocritical, and ignorant, he said. This research center is an investment in the future potential of traumatically disabled soldiers. It is not an expense.

Mueller was referring to the $7 million cut in the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center budget approved by the House and pending in the Senate. The cut, from a $19 million request, would be part of the 2007 defense appropriations bill…

     

The brain injury center is located in Washington, D.C., near Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

It is absolutely inexcusable that lawmakers would slash funding during a time of war for a research center that is earning its keep by addressing the exact types of injuries our troops are suffering, Mueller said.

More than 12,000 servicemen and women have been exposed to horrendous explosions in Iraq and Afghanistan that have caused more than half of our casualties. Better tactics, body armor and battlefield medicine are saving more lives, but there’s no safety net that’s practical or employable that can prevent fragile human bodies from suffering traumatic and oftentimes lifelong injuries, he said.

Mueller said he hopes the VFW complaints can sway lawmakers to add money before a final version of the funding bill passes.


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