Updated Jan 25, 2020

VFW wants Trump to apologize for minimizing soldiers' injuries in Iraq

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, the nation's largest veterans group, is asking President Trump to apologize for minimizing the injuries of troops sustained in an attack from Iran on a U.S. base in Iraq.

Context: Iran attacked a U.S. base in Iraq after an American drone killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Trump had originally said U.S. soldiers didn't suffer any injuries, but the Pentagon confirmed on Friday that 34 soldiers suffered from traumatic brain injuries.

  • Trump said at a news conference earlier this week that he did not consider the injuries very serious.

What they're saying:

"In light of today's announcement from the Defense Department that 34 U.S. service members suffered traumatic brain injuries [TBI] as a result of Iran's retaliatory strike and President Trump's remarks which minimized these troops’ injuries, the Veterans of Foreign Wars cannot stand idle on this matter." 
"TBI is a serious injury and one that cannot be taken lightly. TBI is known to cause depression, memory loss, severe headaches, dizziness and fatigue — all injuries that come with both short- and long-term effects." 
"The VFW expects an apology from the president to our service men and women for his misguided remarks. And, we ask that he and the White House join with us in our efforts to educate Americans of the dangers TBI has on these heroes as they protect our great nation in these trying times. Our warriors require our full support more than ever in this challenging environment."
— William “Doc” Schmitz, VFW National Commander

The White House declined to comment.

Go deeper:

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109 U.S. troops diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after Iran strike

U.S. soldiers clear rubble at al-Asad Base in the western Iraqi province of Anbar. Photo: Ayman Henna/ AFP via Getty Images

109 American troops suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of Iran's Jan. 8 missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq, the Defense Department said in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The development, first reported by Reuters, is a significant jump from the 50 cases the Pentagon disclosed in late January — and more than triple the number disclosed in the immediate aftermath of the strike.

Go deeperArrowFeb 10, 2020 - World

Pentagon: 50 U.S. troops diagnosed with brain injuries from Iran attack

Damage on Jan 13. sustained in Iran's attack of Ain al-Asad military air base, which houses U.S. troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar. Photo: Ayman Henna/AFP via Getty Images

The Pentagon revised the number of U.S. service members diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) following Iran's Jan 7. attack on U.S. bases in Iraq to 50 on Tuesday.

The big picture: This is the third time the Pentagon has updated the figures for those injured in the attack. Per the CDC, TBIs are not always detected immediately after they've been sustained.

Go deeperArrowJan 29, 2020

Iraq base hosting U.S. military in Baghdad hit by "small rockets"

Protesters try to set fire to the outside fence of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Dec. 31. Photo: Khalil Dawood/Xinhua/Bai Ping via Getty Images

"Small rockets" hit the Iraqi base hosting American and other troops in Baghdad's Green Zone early Sunday, a U.S. military spokesperson confirmed in a statement.

Details: The attack at the base hosting International Coalition for Operation Inherent Resolve troops occurred just before 3:30 a.m., said Col. Myles B. Caggins III. There were no casualties and an investigation has been opened into the incident, he added.

Go deeperArrowFeb 16, 2020 - World