Joint Chiefs Chairman: Defensive Measures Prevented Casualties in Iranian Attack
(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Jan. 08, 2020)
President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks from the White House, Jan. 8, 2020. Trump discussed Iran's retaliatory missile strikes against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq. (DoD photo)
Although Iranian missiles damaged equipment and infrastructure at U.S. and ally-occupied military installations in Iraq yesterday, training and defensive readiness paid off in no lives being lost, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

"There's sirens that go off on these bases. ... There's bunkers and jersey barriers, and there's places to go hide and all that," said Army Gen. Mark A. Milley told reporters at the Pentagon today. Milley and Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper briefed reporters after spending most of the day on Capitol Hill talking with lawmakers.

"We have various levels of protective gear, and we have various scatter plans that do certain things," the chairman said. "They are all tactics, techniques and procedures — normal defensive procedures that any military unit would do that would come under rocket attack, indirect fire, mortars, large-scale missiles, etc. So, in this particular case, Al Asad is a big base — they put 11 large rockets [with] 1,000-, 2,000-pound warheads in them — but we took sufficient defensive measures that there were no casualties to U.S. personnel, coalition personnel, contractors or Iraqis."

Esper said good discussions took place on Capitol Hill. “We covered a number of issues in both the House and Senate, everything ranging from authorities and imminence, all the way though force posture, next steps, etc.,” he said. “So, a very good discussion, a very robust discussion, and you know I thought it was a good chance for all of us to kind of share our views and to consult on next steps.”

The secretary said Iran launched 16 ballistic missiles into Iraq. He said he believes the missiles were short-range ballistic missiles and that the missiles landed in at least two spots. Both landing spots were Iraqi military bases that played host to American and coalition forces, including service members from the United Kingdom, Denmark and Canada.

At least 11 of the 16 missiles struck at Al Asad Air Base, about 175 miles from Iraq's border with Iran, and about 115 miles from Baghdad. At least one missile also hit at a military installation near Irbil, Iraq, some 200 miles north of Baghdad and about 60 miles from the border with Iran.

The secretary said the current battle damage assessment includes loss of such things as tents, taxiways, parking lots and damage to a helicopter, but "nothing I would describe as major, at least as I know it at this point in time."

While no lives were lost, Milley said, he believes the Iranians intended to cause deaths.

"The points of impact were close enough to personnel and equipment ... that I believe, based on what I saw and what I know, is that they were intended to cause structural damage, destroy vehicles and equipment and aircraft, and to kill personnel," Milley said. "That's my own personal assessment."

Esper and Milley both said professional intelligence analysts are working on a final assessment.

The secretary said he remains cautious about drawing any conclusion that if the Iranians intended to kill Americans and did not accomplish that during the attack, they may consider the attempt a failure and try again.

"I think we have just got to assess the situation. Let's see what they are saying publicly, see what they are saying privately, look at our intelligence, all those things," he said. "We are not going to do anything imprudent. ... These are serious times, and we take things one step at a time."


(EDITOR’S NOTE: The United States have admitted above that Iran on Wednesday fired 16 short-range ballistic missiles against at least two military bases in Iraq.
They have also admitted that the missiles “damaged equipment and infrastructure at U.S. and ally-occupied military installations in Iraq,” adding that “training and defensive readiness paid off in no lives being lost.”
While the fact that no lives were lost is a major positive, the official US statements on the missile strikes make no mention of the extensive missile defenses that protect the targeted air bases.
Consequently, no explanation was provided as to why they did not intercept the incoming Iranian missiles, as they are designed to do, even though Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, believes the Iranians intended to cause deaths.
"The points of impact were close enough to personnel and equipment ... that I believe, based on what I saw and what I know, is that they were intended to cause structural damage, destroy vehicles and equipment and aircraft, and to kill personnel," Milley said.
This makes the failure to launch defensive missiles more surprising.)


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Trump: No Casualties in Iranian Missile Attack, U.S. Won't Allow Nuclear Iran
(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Jan. 08, 2020)
There were no American or Iraqi casualties as a result of the Iranian missile attacks on Al Asad Air Base and the city of Irbil in Iraq, President Donald J. Trump said today.

After meeting with his national security team, the president reiterated in the strongest manner that the United States will not allow Iran to gain nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.

''We suffered no casualties — all of our soldiers are safe — and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases,'' Trump said in a statement from the White House. ''Our great American forces are prepared for anything. Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world.''

Iran fired missiles at Iraqi bases that the United States uses to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Four of the ballistic missiles broke up in flight; 10 hit Al Asad and two hit Irbil, officials said. Iranian officials said the attack was in response to the recent killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force in a U.S. strike in Baghdad.

“We must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place,'' President Donald J. Trump said.

Soleimani was responsible for hundreds of American deaths during the Iraq conflict and thousands of deaths in and around the Middle East, U.S. officials said. The United States declared the IGRC a terrorist organization in April.

''For far too long — all the way back to 1979, to be exact — nations have tolerated Iran's destructive and destabilizing behavior in the Middle East and beyond,'' the president said. ''Those days are over. Iran has been the leading sponsor of terrorism, and their pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens the civilized world. We will never let that happen.''

Intelligence indicated that Soleimani was planning further attacks of American targets when the president made his decision. ''He should have been terminated long ago,'' Trump said. ''By removing Soleimani, we have sent a powerful message to terrorists: If you value your own life, you will not threaten the lives of our people.''

The president said the United States is evaluating options moving forward. The United States will impose new sanctions against the regime, and they will remain in place until the regime changes its behavior, he said.

The president called on Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism. He called on the remaining signatories to the the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program — the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China — to withdraw from the plan. Trump pulled the United States out of the deal last year.

''We must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place,'' Trump said. ''We must also make a deal that allows Iran to thrive and prosper and take advantage of its enormous, untapped potential. Iran can be a great country.''

The president said he intends to ask NATO allies to become more involved in the Middle East process.

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