In the hours after a ballistic missile launch from Iran targeting American military bases in the early days of January, President Donald Trump and the White House assured the nation that no soldier on our side had been a casualty of those attacks.
New evidence, however, shows that more than a hundred of American service members have since been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
Such injuries do not always present themselves right away, and can be discovered several days after the initial event that caused them. However, more than a month out from the attack, at least 109 soldiers have been treated for a TBI, Al Jazeera reported.
The White House and the Pentagon had initially said that no injuries were reported, then said 11 soldiers had been treated for head injuries. Totals kept going up as time went by, and last week it was reported that 64 had been diagnosed with a TBI.
When previously asked about these injuries, Trump dismissed their importance to reporters. “I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things,” he said. “But I would say, and I can report, it is not very serious. Not very serious.”
The president’s dismissal of soldiers’ injuries prompted an immediate call from the VFW for an apology.
The number of U.S. service members diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries has shot up to 109, the Pentagon said.
Trump initially claimed no Americans were harmed. Then, the number was raised to 11. Then 34. Then 50. Then 64.https://t.co/wJxW6afAe5
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 11, 2020
TBIs, left untreated, can produce very serious and troubling outcomes, including long-term cognitive issues. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers have been diagnosed with a TBI over the past 20 years, and 50,000 civilians die from some form of a TBI every year.
According to the Pentagon, most of the soldiers who were diagnosed with a TBI suffered a mild version of that type of injury. Seventy-six soldiers of the 109 acknowledged that suffered a brain injury have already returned to duty.
However, that also means that, in the 35 days since the attack, 33 other troops have not yet returned to their assignments as a result of their TBIs.