'No Americans Were Harmed' In Iran Missile Attack? Troops With Brain Injuries Might Say Otherwise
When Donald Trump did his presser the morning following Iran's missile attack on American air bases in Iraq (we stole 'em fair and square and they belong to us) on January 8, he was very clear that both the Americans and the Iraqis at the bases were completely unscathed, HOORAY.
Here, we've cued the video up for you:
Since he was reading from a teleprompter, Trump delivered the news in a relatively straightforward declaration:
I'm pleased to inform you, the American people [sniffsnort] should be extremely [audible exhale] grateful and happy [sniff!] no Americans were harmed in last night's attack by the Iranian regime. [sniff] We suffered no casualties [snort], all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.
He went on to add that "No American or Iraqi lives were lost," which to our knowledge still appears to be true. But the stuff about no Americans being harmed is, we learned yesterday, pure uncut Trumpian bullshit. Turns out that in mere reality, 11 American troops were wounded in the attack, and were evacuated to American military hospitals in Kuwait and Germany. Defense One reports the injured US personnel will
be treated for traumatic brain injury and to undergo further evaluation, several U.S. defense and military officials have confirmed[.]
The news of 11 casualties is rather different not only from what Trump said, but also from what Pentagon and White House sources said immediately after the attack, when they insisted the Iranian missile strikes had resulted in "no casualties, no friendly casualties, whether they are U.S., coalition, contractor, et cetera."
And now the administration is spinning furiously to explain there's no contradiction at all between the initial "no casualties" declarations and the inconveniently brain-injured soldiers being treated at military hospitals.
Yesterday, a spokesman for the US military in Baghdad clarified in a statement that you can absolutely have both "no casualties" and "service members evacuated to military for brain injuries" without any contradiction at all:
As previously stated, while no U.S. service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on Al Asad Air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed.
We like the way "no casualties" has been redefined to mean "no deaths" there. But honestly, maybe nobody was hurt at all and the military is just being very careful in making sure everyone's just fine. The statement continues,
Out of an abundance of caution, some service members were transported from Al Asad Air Base, Iraq to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, others were sent to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, for follow-on screening [...] When deemed fit for duty, the service members are expected to return to Iraq following screening. The health and welfare of our personnel is a top priority and we will not discuss any individual's medical status.
Landstuhl, we should note, is a Level I trauma center where the most severely-injured troops from Iraq and Afghanistan are treated, but hey, hospitals treat all sorts of lesser injuries as well. So maybe some of the eight nearly-ready-for-duty soldiers were merely sent there for "screening," out of an "abundance of caution." For eight days. CNN reports a "military spokesman" explained the hospitals in Kuwait and Germany were chosen "because those facilities had the necessary equipment to diagnose the brain injuries."
Also too, an anonymous Defense Department flack in Washington offered CNN this very believable explanation of the apparent discrepancy from those initial "no Americans were harmed" take. Maybe nobody noticed the soldiers had suffered head injuries!
That was the commander's assessment at the time. Symptoms emerged days after the fact, and they were treated out of an abundance of caution.
A spokesperson for US Central Command, Capt. Bill Urban, later offered this abundantly cautious statement to CNN:
As a standard procedure, all personnel in the vicinity of a blast are screened for traumatic brain injury, and if deemed appropriate are transported to a higher level of care.
All soldiers in the immediate blast area were screened and assessed per standard procedure, according to the Defense Department. ... When deemed fit for duty, the service members are expected to return to Iraq following screening.
So there you have it: Everyone in the blast area received routine screenings right away, and some were sent to hospitals just to make sure. But also, the concussion symptoms only "emerged days after the fact," while commanders on the ground thought everything was fine. You see, traumatic brain injuries are hard to notice at first, and it's not like the military has any experience dealing with head traumas sustained during the forever wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Also too, Donald Trump always tells it like it is. That's why people like him so much.
We won't be the least bit surprised if we eventually learn some of the soldiers were hurt badly enough that they'll be unable to return to duty. We'd like to hope that's not the case and everyone was fine. But when it comes to taking this administration at its word, complete skepticism seems warranted, out of an abundance of caution.
And if you want to talk more about lies and deliberate fog in the runup to a war, join Yr Dok Zoom for Wonkette Book Club Sunday morning, around 11 to noon Eastern. Our book this time out is Michael Isikoff and David Corn's Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, and for this week, we'll be reading through Chapter 7. Spoiler warning: The more things change, the more the fuckers are lying to us.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.