More than 30 US soldiers suffered injuries in Iran strike
The Pentagon has announced that 34 US soldiers have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries resulting from the Iranian missile attack on US forces in Iraq earlier this month.
The strike came following Mr Trump’s decision to kill Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, and the US said at the time that no American personnel were injured. Mr Trump has acknowledged that the Americans had been injured, but downplayed their significance. Questioned later about reports of brain injury, Trump downplayed their severity: “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.”
According to the Pentagon, eight of the service members were flown to the US from Germany for treatment, nine are still receiving treatment in Germany, 16 were treated in Iraq and have returned to duty and one was treated in Kuwait before being returned to Iraq.
The delay in reporting the injuries has been explained by the Pentagon as a function of the difficulties facing diagnosis of traumatic brain injuries, which can take time to become apparent.
Michael Kaplen, chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council and past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State said that he was “shocked at the ignorant statement” made by Trump.
“To equate traumatic brain injuries as just a headache is insulting and disrespectful to the thousands of military service members suffering from the signature wound of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict,” he said.
He added that the condition, also known as TBI, is a “life-altering” injury.
“It’s physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral consequences affect every aspect of an individual’s life,” he said. “A brain injury is only ‘mild’ if it is someone else’s brain. There is nothing “mild” about a mild brain injury.”