In the initial aftermath of Iranian strikes on a pair of U.S. bases in Iraq, President Donald Trump claimed that there had been no U.S. “casualties,” but that is quite simply not the full story — at all. Now, Pentagon spokesman Jonathon Hoffman has confirmed that a full 34 U.S. personnel have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, otherwise known as TBIs, in the wake of the Iran attack. Seventeen of those affected service members have already returned to duty in Iraq, but, at least as of Friday, the rest of those among the wounded are still being treated. Nine of them are in Germany and eight were flown to the U.S. for treatment.
Trump, Jan. 8: “No Americans were harmed in last night's attack.”
Trump, Jan. 22: “I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it's not very serious.”
— Vicky Ward (@VickyPJWard) January 24, 2020
This new revelation is not the first indication that Trump’s claim of a complete freedom from danger for American troops was wrong. Last week, U.S. Central Command admitted that a full 11 service members “were treated for concussion symptoms from the attack,” but this week, Trump flippantly dismissed the relevance of those injuries during a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
He told reporters:
‘I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it’s not very serious. They told me about it numerous days later. You’ll have to ask the Department of Defense… No, I don’t consider them very serious relative to other injuries that I’ve seen. I’ve seen what Iran has done relative to their roadside bombs to our troops. I’ve seen people with no legs and with no arms. I’ve seen people who were horribly, horribly injured in that area, in that war.’
When describing the 11 US servicemen injured in the Iran airstrikes and suffering from traumatic brain injuries, Trump, who dodged the Vietnam draft claiming bone spurs, says their injuries are not serious – just headaches.
This ignorant ass doesn't give a damn about our troops. https://t.co/L9QImrTwUu
— Polly Sigh (@dcpoll) January 22, 2020
That is an appallingly naive view of the situation. The fact that the injuries are internal doesn’t mean that they’re less serious! It’s like Trump is completely unironically saying that oh, well, the internal injuries aren’t that serious because that’s where the blood and organs are supposed to be! We’ve all (or mostly all) seen images of the people wounded in the ongoing overseas military excursions involving the United States, and anyone with a lick of sense also knows that traumatic brain injuries are serious. It’s right there in the name! But Trump is treating the situation like some kind of game.
It’s not “headaches” and it’s also not “mostly outpatient stuff,” SecDef Esper. mTBI is serious, as the CG said. https://t.co/u26D6txy5w
— Mark Hertling (@MarkHertling) January 23, 2020
Veteran and Illinois Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth commented:
‘Unreal. The five-time draft dodger who literally said that *avoiding STDs* was his “personal Vietnam” thinks that it’s not “serious” that U.S. troops might have suffered traumatic brain injuries when Iran responded to his #Soleimani strike. This man has no respect for the sacrifices our servicemembers make for our country—he simply has no sense of decency.’
And yet — Trump remains at the helm of the United States anyway, for now at least.
This man has no respect for the sacrifices our servicemembers make for our country—he simply has no sense of decency. (2/5)
— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) January 22, 2020
The strike on U.S. bases was in retaliation for a U.S. strike killing top Iranian General and political leader Qassem Soleimani.
That night of retaliation claimed 176 lives when Iran mistook a passenger jet for a U.S. response to their strikes and shot it down, killing everyone on board in the crash. The passengers were caught in the crossfire of a fight that Trump kickstarted.