In direct contradiction to reports communicated by President Trump in the wake of recent missile attacks by Iran on targets in Iraq where U.S. Forces were stationed, the U.S. Department of Defense has acknowledged that significant battlefield casualties were sustained by U.S. forces as a result of the missile attacks.
On 09 JAN 2020, one day after the the attacks, President Donald J. Trump issued the following statement: “No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime. We suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe.”
However, the U.S. Central Command has reported that, in fact — 11 U.S. service members suffered concussions in the Iranian missile attacks, with the casualties being moved via MEDEVAC from Iraq to receive medical treatment as a result of injuries sustained in these attacks.
Of the combat-wounded service members that were medically removed from Iraq, eight were transported to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and three of the injured U.S. service members were flown on a regularly scheduled flight to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, to be seen at the U.S. Military Hospital – Kuwait.
Perhaps what is most soberingly ironic about this incidence of U.S. officials falsely trumpeting erroneous information relative to the safety and disposition of forward-deployed American forces, is that is comes on the heals of recent disclosures of similar U.S. government falsifications relative to the ongoing U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan. The recently revealed “Afghanistan papers” published by the Washington Post after a three-year court battle, portrays a similar pattern of deliberate misinformation in shocking detail in a tranche of documents showing that in trying to paint the best pictures, American officials repeatedly suppressed the worst from the U.S. public.
The “Afghanistan Papers” documents also underline an important truth that is consistent with the recent events involving the Iran attacks. When the U.S. engages in combat action, the metrics of success will always be contested, however, when actual results are continually massaged, manipulated and packaged for public consumption — they eventually undermine the public’s ability to accurately assess the reality of a particular military engagement (which is a right of citizenship), as occurred in Vietnam.
During the Vietnam war, daily US military briefings were so deceptive that they were often characterized by journalists as the “Five O’ Clock Follies.” The infamously leaked “Pentagon Papers” turned out to be an invaluable trove of information consisting of the Department of Defense’s secret history of that war. The documents, leaked in 1971 by Daniel Ellsberg, gravely underscored the historical level of such deception — a pattern that also existed through the tenure of multiple U.S. presidents.
Disgraced U.S. Army General Michael Flynn once described a “positivity bias” in reporting back to Washington about the complexities of war zone realities, concluding that the “rosy picture” being painted across the board from the conflict was as corrupt as the theft that was also going on, and condemned a “lack of courage in senior government officials to tell the truth.”
Information about the existence of injured U.S. service members leaving Iraq for treatment on 10 JAN 2020 was apparently “slow” in arriving to the Pentagon, supposedly only reaching Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper on WED 15 JAN 2020. U.S. military officials first acknowledged the existence of casualties from the Iran missile attacks and the concomitant need amongst affected service members for medical treatment on the evening of THURS 16 JAN 2020. After fielding a report from Defense One, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, Navy Captain Bill Urban, stated that “several (service members) were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed.” Captain Urban further stated that “When deemed fit for duty, the service members are expected to return to Iraq following screening.” Urban continued, “The health and welfare of our personnel is a top priority and we will not discuss any individual’s medical status.” Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman made it clear that service-members affected by the force of the missile strikes were more “shaken up” by the force of the blasts than “physically hit” by actual missiles. “They all walked onto the aircraft under their own power to assess whether they have traumatic brain injury,” the Pentagon spokesman said. Hoffman further elaborated that “these are people who were going to a doctor’s appointment to get checked out.”
Iran’s violent fusillade of retaliatory missile fire rained-down long range air strikes against U.S. targets with great force intermittently for over 90 minutes, according to Secretary Esper, with approximately 11 missiles striking the targeted military base. Other sources reported experiencing up to 15 missile strikes. U.S. service members who were boots on the ground during the attacks reported through TSC confidential channels that, in fact, the Iranian attacks on the western Iraq airbase consisted of over 30 verified missile strikes. Deep craters were visible upon areas impacted by last week’s Iranian missile strikes against the sprawling air base in western Iraq. In the attacks, confidential sources have confirmed that the force of the bombings were so strong that at least two service members were jolted by force to the point of being ejected through the window of a 15 foot high tactical observation tower.
The acknowledgement of significant American casualties is a significant and notable departure from initial reports that were erroneously issued by defense officials and the President, both of whom made it a point to relegate the effects of Iran’s missile attacks against U.S. service members as inconsequential. President Trump specifically stated that “…all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases” in his remarks to the American people after the attacks. Pentagon Spokesman Hoffman attempted to clarify the President’s well meaning but erroneous post-attack comments by stating on FRI 17 JAN 2020 that President Trump’s initial statements were based on “accurate, truthful information that he received” from U.S. commanders in the immediate hours following the attacks — which suggested that that there were no deaths, nor loss of limbs, or loss of eyesight by any U.S. service members in the attacks. Furthermore, concussions and other TBI symptoms are often not as clear and/or readily evident as more “traditional” combat wounds such as puncture wounds like shrapnel and gunshot wounds.
At approximately 11 P.M. on the night of 08 JAN 2020, the base was placed by military officials on lockdown status – after receiving reliable intelligence reports alerting them of an imminent attack. An “all clear” was declared shortly before dawn, and U.S. forces were allowed to step out into the open air for the first time since the bombing campaign had started. Cell phones were passed around so family members could be notified of the various troops status and disposition, and that all had survived without any deaths of U.S. troops.