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  • Since 2000, about 408,000 service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, according to Pentagon data.

    Since 2000, about 408,000 service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, according to Pentagon data. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 February 2020
Opinion

Last month U.S. President Donald Trump tried to downplay the injuries saying he did not consider them to be significant.

United States (U.S.) military revealed Monday the number of service members diagnosed with traumatic brain injury following Iran’s Jan. 8 missile attack on the Ain al-Assad and Erbil airbases - where U.S. forces were stationed - climbed to more than 100.

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US Confirms 34 Troops With Traumatic Brain Injury After Iran Strike

One hundred nine U.S. service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury so far, the Pentagon said in a statement, adding that 76 of them went back to duty.

The U.S. military had said it expected an increase in numbers in the weeks after the attack because symptoms can take time to appear and troops can also take longer to report them.

Symptoms of concussive injuries include headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to light and nausea.

Last month U.S. President Donald Trump tried to downplay the injuries saying he did not consider them to be significant.

“I heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things,” he said prompting criticism from lawmakers and a U.S. veterans organizations.

Pentagon officials have repeatedly said there has been no effort to minimize or delay information on concussive injuries. The new figures revived questions over the U.S. military’s policy regarding how it internally reports suspected brain injuries and whether they are treated publicly with the same urgency as loss of limb or life.

For years, many health and medical groups have been trying to raise awareness about the gravity of brain injuries, including concussions.

Since 2000, about 408,000 service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, according to Pentagon data.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards launched a surface-to-surface ballistic missile attack on the Iraqi Ain al-Assad and Erbil airbases as a response to the U.S. killing of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3 

After the strikes, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif explained that these were "proportionate and concluded measures in self-defense under Article 51 of U.N. Charter," adding that the country "does not seek escalation nor war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression."

Zarif also explained that his country notified Iraqi authorities of the attack on U.S. bases, resulting in no casualties on the Iraqi side.

At the time of the attack, most of the 1,500 U.S. soldiers at the base had bunkered down, after Iran had warned Iraqi officials, according to Iraq’s prime minister.

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