Two weeks ago, in retaliation for the U.S. airstrike that killed Gen. Qassim Soleimani, Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi air bases housing U.S. forces. As we've discussed, the next morning, Donald Trump delivered a strange speech, littered with unnecessary falsehoods, though the president stressed an important bottom line.
"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 said near the outset of his remarks. "We suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases."
It now appears the presidential rhetoric wasn't altogether true. NBC News reported last week that 11 service members were transported to two hospitals for treatment for concussions following the strike. The Washington Post added overnight:
More U.S. service members have been transported out of Iraq for medical treatment and evaluations following Iran's missile attack on military facilities there, the Pentagon said Tuesday, nearly two weeks after President Trump and defense officials initially said no one was hurt.
The Pentagon said Friday that 11 service members required medical treatment outside Iraq. U.S. military officials declined to say Tuesday how many more are receiving care but said "additional" personnel had been sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
The officials left open the possibility that the number could increase in coming days.
So, why did Trump boast that "no Americans were harmed" if, in reality, some Americans were harmed? Apparently because the president has his own definition of "harm."
The AP reported this morning that the president "minimized the severity" of the troops' head injuries.
"I heard they had headaches and a couple of other things ... and I can report it is not very serious," Trump said at a press conference in Davos, Switzerland, arguing that potential traumatic brain injuries are less severe than, say, missing limbs.
"No, I don't consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I've seen," the Republican president said. "I've seen what Iran has done with their roadside bombs to our troops. I've seen people with no legs and with no arms. I've seen people that were horribly, horribly injured in that area, that war."
"No, I do not consider that to be bad injuries, no," he added.
I kept waiting for Trump to say he likes troops who don't get traumatic brain injuries.
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