Pentagon reveals Iran attack gave 34 US troops brain injuries — which Trump dismissed as 'not very serious'

Pentagon reveals Iran attack gave 34 US troops brain injuries — which Trump dismissed as 'not very serious'
President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, senior White House advisors and senior military personnel, delivers remarks during a national televised address Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, from the Cross Hall of the White House, responding to the retaliatory missile strikes against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq on Tuesday by the Islamic Republic of Iran. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

On January 8, the Iranian military fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at Iraqi airbases where American troops were stationed — an act of retaliation against the United States in response to the killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani. No fatalities were reported on January 8, but on Friday, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman reported that 34 U.S. service members were diagnosed with concussions and traumatic brain injuries following Iran’s attack on the Ain al Asad Air Base in Iraq.


Hoffman’s report stands in stark contrast to what President Donald Trump reported following the attack. The U.S. president claimed, “We suffered no casualties. All of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.”

On Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland — where Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attended the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum — Trump responded to reports that U.S. troops were being treated for injuries and told reporters, “I heard they had headaches. I can report it is not very serious.”

But CNN’s Jake Tapper, in a Twitter thread, stressed that comparing traumatic brain juries to headaches is wildly misleading.

“Traumatic Brain Injuries are not mere ‘headaches,’” Tapper tweeted. “According to the @CDCgov, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States.”

He stressed that the injuries suffered at the Ain al Asad Air Base earlier this month —although not fatal — were much worse than Trump said they were. And Tapper laid out the specific injuries suffered, noting, “8 service members were flown to the US from Germany for treatment; 9 are still being treated in Germany; 16 have been treated in Iraq and have returned to duty; 1 was treated in Kuwait and has returned to duty in Iraq.”

Tapper also points out that according to the Pentagon, “Traumatic brain injury is one of the invisible wounds of war and one of the signature injuries of troops wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

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