The nation’s largest organization representing war veterans is demanding for Donald Trump to apologize for downplaying the traumatic brain injuries that U.S. service members suffered in an attack by Iran earlier this month.
As CNN reported, the Veterans of Foreign Wars called on Trump to apologize for what was called “misguided remarks” in downplaying brain injuries suffered by 34 service members. The White House initially claimed that there were no casualties in the attack, which came after Trump ordered a strike that killed one of Iran’s top military leaders. After admitting that close to three dozen service members were hurt, Trump said publicly that he heard they “had headaches” and that it was “not very serious.”
“The VFW expects an apology from the President to our service men and women for his misguided remarks,” William “Doc” Schmitz, VFW National Commander, said in a statement.
“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.”
After the attack, both the United States and Iran expressed a willingness to cool tensions, and there was no retaliation from the United States.
But the effects of the attack earlier this month are still being felt. CNN reported that nine of the service members injured in the attack are still being treated in Germany, and another eight who were sent to Germany for treatment have since returned to the United States to continue their treatment. Traumatic brain injuries can be serious with symptoms that last months, with some life-long effects like impaired vision or hearing. The term “traumatic brain injury” covers a wide range of injuries including concussions.
Others have joined in calling Trump out for downplaying what appeared to have been serious injuries. Michael Kaplen, the chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council, told The Guardian that he was shocked at the ignorance of Trump’s statement.
“To equate traumatic brain injuries as just a headache is insulting and disrespectful to the thousands of military service members suffering from the signature wound of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict,” he said.
He added that traumatic brain injuries can leave physical, cognitive, and behavioral consequences.
“A brain injury is only ‘mild’ if it is someone else’s brain. There is nothing ‘mild’ about a mild brain injury,” he said.