President Trump claimed that there were no US casualties in the January 7 Iranian missile strike on the Ayn al-Asad airbase in Iraq. This was proven untrue, as the Pentagon revealed a week later that 11 were sent abroad for medical treatment, and then confirmed it was even higher than that.
Trump was very dismissive of this, however, saying at a news conference on Wednesday that the injuries were “not very serious,” and saying that he’d “heard they had headaches.”
The military refused to comment on Trump’s assessment, but veterans groups were quick to criticize the comments, saying that the injuries included concussions or other serious brain injuries.
While so far the signs are that they will fully recover, the potential risk of long-term effects from concussions is non-trivial, and while headaches are certainly a common symptom of concussions, the veterans said labeling the whole injury as a headache suggests Trump is “somewhat out of touch” with the seriousness of it.
Since Iran gave the US advance notice on the attack, they were able to get the troops to cover and prevent any more life-threatening injuries. For the veterans, however, the concern about downplaying brain injuries extends far beyond the single event, as the military has been struggling to deal with a surge in concussion-type injuries in recent years.