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The ultimate medical cost for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may range between $600 and $900 billion. Why so high and so unpredictable? Combat lasted much longer than the government ever expected, and medical science has been able to treat wounded soldiers who would have died during previous conflicts. We hear about the financial and human consequences. Also, Congress presses for missing war records, and Arlington National Cemetery wants to expand, but there’s controversy. Would providing space for future casualties destroy a historic, surrounding environment?

Banner image: US Marine Corps

Kerry Cavanaugh
Sonya Geis

Making News Congress Presses for Missing War Records 7 MIN, 24 SEC

The history of wars and the benefits for those who fight them depend on field records: after-action write-ups, intelligence reports and day to day accounts of what happened. Now Congressmen of both parties want Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to explain why so many are missing. Their request is based on a report by the Seattle Times and Pro-Publica, where Tom Detzel is Senior Editor.  

Tom Detzel, ProPublica (@tdetz)

Main Topic The Soldiers Who Are Making It Home 30 MIN, 45 SEC

On Memorial Day, Americans honor those who have died serving their country, but what about those who've survived? The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have the lowest casualty rates of all American conflicts. More than 95% of the wounded are coming home. Many have survived injuries that were deadly in previous wars, but they've been left with life-long conditions requiring high-tech medical care. Can the Veterans' Administration cope with unexpected numbers and very high costs? What about loved ones who've become caregivers full time?

Melissa Johnson, Army Reservist's wife
Dean Norman, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (@LosAngelesVA)
Derek Bennett, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (@dhb00)
Terry Schell, RAND Corporation (@RANDCorporation)

Reporter's Notebook Arlington National Cemetery Is Filling Up 9 MIN, 4 SEC

Arlington National Cemetery goes back to the Revolution. Four million people visit it each year. A few years ago, there was a scandal involving unmarked or mismarked graves, and urns unearthed and dumped in a dirt pile. That's been resolved and digitized records now allow visitors to look up grave sites on-line. Arlington's just completed an enormous new columbarium, two football fields long, that would add sites for 27,000 more interments, but it will run out of space for burials in 2025. Christian Davenport is editor on the Metro Desk at the Washington Post.

Christian Davenport, Washington Post (@_chrisdavenport)


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