Pentagon Report On ‘Real Toll’ Of Iraq War: 1 In 5 Vets Are Affected By ‘Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries’

On the Chris Matthews Show this morning, Time magazine Managing Editor Richard Stengel discussed a new Pentagon report that says “1 in 5 American servicemen and women who have been in Iraq are coming back with brain injuries.” Stengel called it the “real toll” of the war, adding that “the legacy of that will last all of our lifetimes and it’s incalculable.”

In total, according to Stengel, “more than 250,000 people” are affected by “mild traumatic brain injuries” sustained in Iraq. Watch it:

According to the Pentagon, some of the soldiers who sustained concussions “do not realize they need treatment.” Additionally, they may be sent back to the war zone:

The task force praised work done at Fort Carson, Colo., where soldiers going back to war are screened for brain injury. Surveys there found that about 17 percent of the soldiers returning to war could have a traumatic brain injury.

As recently as 2006, the Pentagon was “refusing to release data on how many soldiers have suffered brain injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan,” arguing that “disclosing the results would put the lives of those fighting at risk.”

At that time, it was estimated that just 10 percent of combat troops suffered concussions during their tours of duty. Now, in 2008, it’s estimated closer to 20 percent.