Though President Trump and the Pentagon initially stated that there were no casualties in the Iranian strike on U.S. forces in Iraq on January 8, The Atlantic’s Defense One reports that 11 American troops were wounded in the retaliatory missile attack. According to military and Defense officials who spoke with the site, the soldiers were medically evacuated this week to military hospitals in Kuwait and Germany to be treated for traumatic brain injury and for continued monitoring.
“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,” Colonel. Myles Caggins, a Combined Joint Task Force spokesman, said on Thursday. An unidentified senior Defense official added that the transported service members “were still experiencing some symptoms of concussion” over a week after the strike — still well within the time-frame of post-concussion syndrome.
Shortly after the strike on two bases in Iraq, which served as retaliation for Trump’s extrajudicial order to kill Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, the New York Times reported that service members at the two bases hit were warned in advance that missiles were en route, allowing them to fall back to concrete shelters. Still, one member of an Army drone team told NPR that he was knocked to the ground by the blast.
In part because of the no-casualty count, President Trump effectively declared victory after Iran’s volley of strikes, allowing for the swift de-escalation of the conflict. Hopefully for all parties involved — but especially for Iraqis expected to bear the brunt of a U.S.-Iranian proxy war — the injury report will not change the president’s opinion. Meanwhile, military operations in the region are returning to their normal, forever-war state: On Wednesday, the U.S. military resumed joint operations with Iraq, less than two weeks after the government in Baghdad voted to expel all U.S. forces from the country.