A veterans group has issued a short yet pointed statement toward President Donald Trump in light of his recent comments about traumatic brain injuries and concussions suffered by U.S. troops during an attack on their bases in Iraq earlier this month.
The attack, which came from Iran in response to Trump’s order to assassinate a top general from that nation, initially was said to have had no casualties as a result. Days later, it was announced that 11 soldiers had suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or concussions, and this past week, the number was brought up to nearly 34 who suffered TBIs from the ballistic missile attack.
TBIs do not always show themselves right away, and can appear in a person days after the incident that caused them occurred.
Trump was recently asked by reporters about the newly-updated number of servicemembers who had been diagnosed with a TBI from the attack, brushing aside the seriousness of the situation.
“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. Not very serious,” he said, per reporting from Politico.
According to data from the CDC, more than 300,000 troops suffered from a TBI from 2000 to 2015. More than 50,000 individuals die from a TBI within the civilian population annually.
"TBI is a serious injury & one that cannot be taken lightly. TBI is known to cause depression, memory loss, severe headaches, dizziness & fatigue — all injuries that come w/ both short- and long-term effects." – VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz https://t.co/bfckobGE7m pic.twitter.com/gjSsonQfLz
— VFW National HQ (@VFWHQ) January 24, 2020
The president’s comments caught the attention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, one of the largest veterans’ groups in the country. “The Veterans of Foreign Wars cannot stand idle on this matter,” William Schmitz, the VFW National Commander, said in a press release.
The organization noted that “TBI is known to cause depression, memory loss, severe headaches, dizziness, and fatigue — all injuries that come with both short- and long-term effects.”
“The VFW expects an apology from the president to our service men and women for his misguided remarks,” Schmitz said in the release. “And, we ask that he and the White House join with us in our efforts to educate Americans of the dangers TBI has on these heroes as they protect our great nation in these trying times.”