The Pentagon has just announced 34 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries as a result of Iran’s missile attacks on U.S. Forces at Iraqi bases where they were hosted earlier this month. That’s more than three times the number of service members initially reported, eleven, and an upgrade from “possible” traumatic brain injuries.
President Donald Trump, hours after the missiles hit two U.S. bases declared “All is well!” and insisted there had been no injuries to American forces. He later dismissed the injuries as “not very serious” and “headaches, and a couple of other things.”
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can lead to severe permanent brain damage and can be fatal.
On Wednesday the Commander-in-Chief was asked about the eleven U.S. service members who had been diagnosed with possible traumatic brain injuries as a result of Iran’s attack on U.S. Forces at Iraqi bases where they were hosted. Trump told a reporter they were just “headaches,” and became defensive quickly (video below.)
“I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things but I would say, and I can report, it is not very serious.”
“You don’t think that a potential traumatic brain injury is very serious?” the reporter asked.
“Um, they told me about it numerous days later – you’d have to ask the Dept. of Defense,” Trump replied. “No, I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I’ve seen.”
That reporter was CBS News White House Correspondent Weijia Jiang. She later noted that “Trump has said many times that no Americans were hurt when Iran retaliated for the Soleimani strike, and that was a big reason he declared victory.”
That reason has been shredded, and Trump has made no effort to correct his remarks, and shown no concern for the now 34 service members.
Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance weighed in, saying, “34 with TBI, in a crisis that looked like it was manufactured by Trump to distract from impeachment.”
“Pentagon officials have said there had been no effort to minimize or delay information on concussive injuries,” Reuters reports, “but its handling of the injuries following Tehran’s attack has renewed questions over the U.S. military’s policy regarding how it deals with suspected brain injuries.”
Here’s Trump dismissing TBIs as mere “headaches” earlier this week:
When asked about the 11 U.S. servicemen injured in the Iran airstrikes, President Trump told @weijia he didn't "consider them serious injuries relative to other injuries I've seen." https://t.co/anmIdCHO6a pic.twitter.com/boSjvDujCS
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 22, 2020