Trump says he didn't mention injuries of US troops because they weren't 'serious'

Elizabeth Howe
January 22, 2020 - 11:21 am
President Donald Trump shares his approval rating among farmers as he speaks at the American Farm Bureau Federation's (AFBF) annual convention.

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Over the past two weeks, Central Command confirmed that an undisclosed number of service members have been flown out of Iraq to be treated for potential injuries resulting from the Iran missile strike — despite preliminary reports and statements from President Donald Trump that no U.S. service members were injured. 

“I’m pleased to inform you the American people should be extremely grateful and happy. No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime,” Trump stated the day of the Iranian missile strike. 

Iraqi bases housing US troops struck with Iranian ballistic missiles

When asked by CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang why he stated that no Americans were hurt in the retaliatory attack, Trump said he heard they had "headaches" and didn't "consider them serious injuries relative to other injuries I've seen."

Additional troops flown out of Iraq for injuries from the Iran missile strike

Last Friday, CENTCOM confirmed that 11 U.S. service members were flown to Landstuhl and Camp Arifjan to be treated for concussion symptoms. On Tuesday, the command confirmed additional service members were flown out for screening of "potential injuries." 

"As medical treatment and evaluations in theater continue, additional service members have been identified as having potential injuries," Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for U.S. Central Command said on Friday. "These service members — out of an abundance of caution — have been transported to Landstuhl, Germany for further evaluations and necessary treatment on an outpatient basis."

Last month, the U.S. military announced that it would begin recording blast exposures to service member's medical records in order to help them receive future medical treatment. It is estimated that the cost of treating traumatic brain injury for veterans tops $1 billion annually.

DOD military records will now record troop's blast exposure

Veterans suffering from TBIs experience "poorer long-term outcomes" than those with no TBIs including cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and recurrent symptoms with no known root cause, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Additionally, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense just launched a new study last week to research the long-term impact of TBIs. 

"Most TBI injuries are considered mild," said Mike Richman, spokesperson for VA Research Communications. "But even mild cases can involve headaches and long-term effects on thinking ability, memory, balance, sleep, mood, and focus."

As service members who were near the areas impacted by the missile strikes are screened for traumatic brain injury, as is standard procedure for all personnel in the vicinity of a blast, additional injuries may be identified. 

"Given the nature of injuries already noted, it is possible additional injuries may be identified in the future," Urban added.

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