Trump Administration Attempted to Downplay Troop Injuries in Iraq
Trump Administration Attempted to Downplay Troop Injuries in Iraq. .According to a former Pentagon spokesperson, the White House under former President Donald Trump pressed the military to conceal 110 US troops’ injuries after an Iranian missile attack on an Iraqi facility in 2020.
On the One Decision podcast, Alyssa Farah said the White House was pressuring her to downplay the success of the attack on the Iraqi base of Ain al-Asad, which was carried out in retaliation for the US killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike at the Baghdad airport on January 3.
While Farah stated that Trump’s original assertion that the strike caused no injuries to US forces was “accurate at the time we presented those data to the president,” she also stated that White House pressure mounted as additional casualties became known.
Those injuries, which the Pentagon ultimately diagnosed as mild traumatic brain injuries, were initially dismissed by Trump as “headaches.” While the majority of those who were injured were released a few days later, a few had to be airlifted out of Iraq for treatment.
“There was not enough consideration given to the possibility of long-term harm or even the gravity of the attack,” she claimed.
“The White House made an effort to emphasize – the Iranians were not effective in hurting our objectives in response,” Farah said. “And I believe that was taken too far.
“And I believe it glossed over what turned out to be really serious injuries on US troops after the fact,” Farah said. “One hundred and ten American personnel suffered from traumatic brain injuries, which can vary from a concussion to a loss of motor skills.”
Trump Administration Attempted to Downplay Troop Injuries in Iraq. The Pentagon was also pressured by the White House, according to the former official, to space out its reporting on the number of injured, which steadily grew from January to February.
According to her, the Pentagon’s strategy is to share material as soon as it is received and vetted.
“We did get some pushback from the White House, asking if we could report this in a different way.’ Can we do it every 10 days or every two weeks, or do a wrap-up afterward?’” Farah remarked. “The White House would prefer if we didn’t keep them updated on it on a frequent basis. So it was this drip, drip of terrible news that undoubtedly encouraged those who were criticizing the strike to see that it was a mistake and that these were the consequences of it.
Trump Administration Attempted to Downplay Troop Injuries in Iraq. “If my experience had taught me anything, it was that in that business, honesty is always going to be your best friend,” she said. “I’d rather deal with that bad news article than the bad news storey about you withholding this information from us.”
The legality of the strike has been questioned, with Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, calling it a “unlawful killing.”
Trump Administration Attempted to Downplay Troop Injuries in Iraq. Members of Congress from both parties disputed the Trump administration’s claim that Soleimani was planning a “imminent” assault, claiming that confidential intelligence briefings they received did not reveal such a plot.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo eventually referred to the strike as part of a bigger “deterrence” plan. Trump administration officials also gave conflicting accounts of how immediate the attacks were.