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Need to Know, June 25, 2010

This week on Need to Know, we look at America’s wars and their consequences. Former NOW correspondent Maria Hinojosa checks in on three families who have struggled with the burden of caring for veterans with traumatic brain injuries. The Pentagon now estimates that as many as one in five American soldiers returns from battle with a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. And the toll on families can be devastating.

Then we range beyond America’s shores to find a story you won’t see much in the headlines this week: the state of Iran’s fragile democracy. One year after the disputed presidential election there, Need to Know takes a rare inside look at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Iran, his nuclear ambitions and the citizens who support or criticize him. We also talk to Hooman Madj, an author and journalist just back from a reporting trip to Iran, about whether democracy can indeed flourish there.

Plus, Andy Borowitz is back from the World Cup in South Africa, and he takes a look at the terrible performance of the English team. And by English team, he means the top executives at BP, of course.


  • Pat

    I cannot Leave a Comment in any program, because my IP is Blocked this is the new world order?

  • Kathryn Cox

    Words cannot adequately express how this segment moved me. I experienced anger, frustration, uncertainty but most of all pride in the wives and family members who so love their husband and son that they were going to pursue every avenue possible to get the care and possibly cure for their husbands rendered incommunicable and incapacitated due to traumatic brain injuries. What we saw were extraordinary people handling excruciating tasks to keep their loved ones connected to their loved ones. Are they the exceptional ones or does this dedication exist across the broad spectrum?
    I am so torn with my emotions. I never supported the Iraq War nor do I support President Obama and his policies for this current foray in Afghanistan. I see no end in sight and just more stories like this one. Just where is our country headed? These two women are headed for Sainthood as far as I’m concerned. As the young woman who so eloquently spoke at Brown University’s graduation, no matter what may happen to us and what trials and tribulations, we may confront, know that you will never be alone. This segment of Need To Know was outstanding and eye opening.

  • Danny Marcum

    I was very touched by your story TBI, my hearts goes out to the two young women and to the family of the 3rd soldier you did the story on. On Oct. 16, 2009 I recieved a call from the Dept. of the Army informing me that my son had been critially wounded in Afghanistan, a week later he finially made it to Bethesda, Md. nearly two months there we were then transfered to the VA hospital in Tampa where we spent two more months. My son is one of the more luckier ones, he was able to walk out of there on his own but still has an uphill battle with both the physical and the TBI injuries that he suffered and will have for many more years to come. I thought it was great that you also brought out the financial difficulties that these families faced I know that we were hit hard and it will take years to recover. I have to say that the army did a good job of trying to take care of most of our needs, putting us up in nice hotels and they were good enough to allow us to bring in electric skillets and the like, but if you are not living at home you are spending extra money and it doesn’t take long to wipe out one savings account. Then like our case we live in Missouri and have had to make several trips back to Georgia to help out. You mentioned the bond that forms between the different families that are there, it doesn’t take very long until you know most of the soldiers names, their wives and children names and often watch someones child while they run an errand. At first it seemed strange to see children in the ward but many have spent most of their young lives growing up there and know the routine better than some of the adults. The staff was really great not only with the patients but with the family and exspecially with the children, we had a 3 yr old with us and my daughter-in-law was about 6 months pregnet when we were at Tampa. One of the most hardest thing was the boys who had no family or they could only get to see them once in a while. I was very sad to see so many young men trapped in crippled bodies or healthly bodies and to have the mind of a child. I ask God to Bless these warriors and their families who continue the fight everyday to get some part of their lives back. And I thank Need to Know for covering this story, it seems that the President’s dog has gotten more news coverage than the returning wounded warriors, I believe that if the network news would send a little time in places like the poly truma ward in Tampa or at Bethseda hospital when they bring in the busses of wounded soldiers they would have a much better story. As I finish up this I give thought to my oldest son who is set to deploy in the next couple of weeks and I wonder how he will fair and what shape he will return home in. We all have the right to agree or disagree with the wars we have going on but we also have an obligation to honor and support any man or woman who puts on the uniform of our military services. God Bless them and their families. Thank you again for bring this story to the light.

  • Goran Tomic

    Discussing democracy in Iran, as if it exists in the US? And on afghanistan: “tweak the strategy”? “an opportunity”? “achieve success”?

    Who are these people, why are they soft-balling every issue out there and what has PBS done with NOW and Moyers Journal?

  • Need to Know 6/25/10: PBS look at veterans with TBI « DRP Blog

    [...] This week on Need to Know, we look at America’s wars and their consequences. Former NOW correspondent Maria Hinojosa checks in on three families who have struggled with the burden of caring for veterans with traumatic brain injuries. [...]

  • joan Letendre

    the show on vets with TBI was outstanding and really made me wonder once again why we are in this disastrous war. the ongoing suffering experienced by the families of the vets, their heroic efforts to care for their loved one with so little help from the government (Great to see Obama signing the family Caretaker bill. this needs to be publicized) was something we need to see on our local TV stations. thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  • Joseph Bennette

    Thank you, for expressing my feelings so well. This issue of Need to Know was sensitive, humane, and gravely thought provoking. Like many others, I have never supported any war since Vietnam when I came of age to vote. My congressmen and women have already heard from me and I recommend that we as rational individuals hammer congress often about our concerns for our country’s direction. Then we all need to do some deep soul searching about how important our gas guzzling SUVs, asphalt roads, plastic containers, and all those other oil-related products are to us. It won’t be easy, but we MUST beat our addiction to oil – it’s killing us and our planet (but us first). I detest the legacy my generation is leaving my grandchildren’s generation. They deserve better from us.

  • danny costello

    I loved this week’s episode. I found it extremely refreshing to spend time AWAY from the stories headlining the various programs in the echo chamber. Both the Iran and TBI stories were magnificent, not only for their thoroughness, but for their individuality in the current media landscape. More of the same, please!

  • Carol Blake

    Because of my experience with my sons brain injury I have started a program to address some of the issues. it’s a hard life to live and since the help is not available I have decided to take matters into my own hands. Visit us at

  • Carol

    My name is Carol Blake and I am the Co-Founder of Our Forgotten Warriors. I am writing to you today with hopes of getting some publicity for our program . Our forgotten Warriors assist members injured while performing their assigned duties. Many of the wounded have already been through medical and some rehabilitative services, provided by DoD and VA facilities, but have not been able to make it all the way home and reintegrate with their family and community.

    Our Forgotten Warriors is a charitable organization with a plan to assist these heroes cross the final line of reintegration with society. We are in process of property acquisition and assembling a highly qualified staff to include Dr. Melvin Morse who has been on the show previously to address remaining deficits and to equip these soldiers to achieve their maximum potential of independence. Our aim is to help every soldier reenter the civilian world on their terms, able to make viable contributions to their community using their individual strengths and abilities.

    We recognize that we cannot accomplish this in isolation, and that every warrior will need to be located reasonably close to their families while they complete their reentry training. To that end, we are considering building a facility in every state to be conveniently located near military installations where a 20 to 25 person treatment facility could be located.

    Our initial plan is to begin in Washington State near Joint Base Lewis/McChord. Our goal is to establish and validate the program and then expand to other states. As stated earlier, the goal is to achieve independence for these forgotten warriors and to help families seize every potential for improving their abilities. We know there are some who will not be able to become fully capable, but our aim is to ensure that every warrior is given the opportunity to progress beyond what DoD and VA have been able to accomplish thus far, by providing more individualized care and services.

    We have already received encouragement from members of Congress and VA. We already have the business plan and the clinical expertise available. We are now on the verge of putting the tires to the road. Our question for you is, “Will you help us by being a part of the solution?”

    Your decision now to help bring our heroes all the way home, and demonstrate your personal willingness to take care of our own is a moral and just decision that will reflect great honor upon you, your Governors and the men and women who voluntarily undertook to defend our lives, our liberties and the Constitution of the United States.

    Please take a moment to visit our website at to see what we are doing for our troops, and consider helping us get the word out so we can get this program off the ground. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.

  • What PBS Thinks You Need to Know — FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting

    [...] the majority of the military sources were not top brass but rather ordinary soldiers; one segment (6/25/10)—a followup to a segment originally reported by Now—looked at the relatively undercovered story [...]