Over 100 American soldiers have been treated for traumatic brain injuries following Iran’s missile strike on Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq. The strike came in retaliation for the killing of Qassim Suleimani, the Iranian Quds Force commander, which has become a rhetorical staple of President Trump’s re-election campaign.
At the time, most of the American reaction to the strike — which included about a dozen ballistic missiles, some carrying upward of 1,100 pounds of high explosives — was muted gratitude that it was limited, there were no American casualties, and there would be no spiral of escalation.
But we soon learned that numerous American servicemembers were being treated for brain trauma. The Pentagon’s climbing numbers and mixed messages on the seriousness of the injuries show how far the military has come in responding to traumatic brain injuries (T.B.I.s) — but more important, how far it still has to go.
It is also a warning about how Americans weigh the costs of military interventions, which at best reflects only the headlines of conflict and rarely considers the long-term effects.
Read the full article in The New York Times.
More from CNAS
PodcastFire and Ice
In this week’s edition of the SpyTalk podcast, Jeff Stein goes deep on the CIA’s looming eviction from Afghanistan with Lisa Curtis, a longtime former CIA, State Department an...
By Lisa Curtis, Jeff Stein, Jeanne Meserve & Alma Katsu
CommentaryThe Militarization of Artificial Intelligence
Militaries are racing to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) with the aim of gaining military advantage over competitors. And yet, there is little understanding of AI’s long-te...
By Paul Scharre
CommentaryAre AI-Powered Killer Robots Inevitable?
In war, speed kills. The soldier who is a split second quicker on the draw may walk away from a firefight unscathed; the ship that sinks an enemy vessel first may spare i...
By Paul Scharre
Commentary9/11 swallowed U.S. foreign policy. Don’t let the coronavirus do the same thing.
For two decades, American foreign policy has been shaped by the 9/11 attacks. The catastrophic wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our failure to see the full threat posed by Russia...
By Ilan Goldenberg