The Pentagon said on Friday that 34 service members had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury following missile strikes by Iran on a base in Iraq earlier this month, a number higher than the military had previously announced. This is the retaliation against Iran Trump should have ordered but instead backed down despite Iran’s terror.
President Donald Trump and other top officials initially said Iran’s attack had not killed or injured any U.S. service members. In an attempt at downplaying tensions.
Last week the U.S. military said it treated 11 U.S. troops and then transferred out of Iraq for concussion symptoms. Apparently, the attack on Ain al-Asad air bases caused more brain trauma than previously known. This week, the U.S. moved more troops out of Iraq for potential injuries.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters that 17 service members diagnosed had already returned to duty in Iraq.
MORE INJURIES THAN PREVIOUSLY KNOWN
Eight service members the Pentagon had previously transported to Germany moved them to the United States instead. They would receive treatment at either Walter Reed military hospital or their home bases.
Hoffman said the U.S. is treating the service members on an outpatient basis. The U.S. transported them back to the United States in order to be closer to their pre-deployment bases.
Nine service members remain in Germany and are undergoing evaluations and treatment.
Hoffman said the military had seen symptoms like headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to light and nausea.
On Wednesday, Trump appeared to play down the injuries, saying:
[He] heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things.
Pentagon officials have said there had been no effort to minimize or delay information on concussive injuries; 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.
While the U.S. military has to immediately report incidents threatening life, limb or eyesight, it does not have an urgent requirement to do so with suspected traumatic brain injury, or TBI, which can take time to manifest and diagnose.
Hoffman said U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper had directed the Pentagon to review the process for tracking and reporting injuries.
The goal is to be as transparent, accurate and to provide the American people and our service members with the best information.
Various health and medical groups for years have been trying to raise awareness about the seriousness of brain injuries, including concussions.
According to Pentagon data, about 408,000 service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury since 2000.
Reuters contributed to this story.