The Guardian

US Secretary of Defense hospitalized due to complications

The Pentagon announced Friday that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized earlier this week due to complications from a medical procedure, at a time when Washington is facing a growing crisis in the Middle East.

Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement that Austin was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the night of Jan. 1 “due to complications following a recent elective medical procedure,” but the merger Details about the symptoms and treatment period were not disclosed. hospitalization.

“He is recovering well and is scheduled to resume full duty today,” Ryder said.

The Pentagon had not previously disclosed that Mr. Austin was hospitalized, and Friday's announcement drew criticism from the Pentagon Press Association.

In a letter to the Pentagon spokesperson, the Press Association expressed “grave concerns” and said “holding up an announcement for several days so late on a Friday night is reprehensible.”

“The public has the right to know when U.S. Cabinet members are hospitalized, under anesthesia, and when they are assigned duties as a result of medical procedures,” said a letter from the association, which is made up of journalists who cover the Pentagon. has been written.

His hospitalization comes as tensions in the Middle East are rising as a result of the Israel-Hamas war, with Iranian-backed forces attacking shipping routes in Yemen and other forces using rockets and drones in Iraq and Syria. is attacking the US military.

On Thursday, the United States carried out an airstrike on an Iranian-backed commander in Baghdad, accusing the military of being involved in the attack on U.S. forces, infuriating the Iraqi government.

“The Deputy Secretary of Defense (Kathleen Hicks) has always been prepared to deputize and exercise the authority of the Deputy Secretary of Defense as needed,” Ryder said.

A Pentagon spokesperson later told AFP that the deputy secretary is “automatically authorized to perform the duties of the secretary if she is unable to do so.” “We made some day-to-day decisions.”

The spokesperson said Austin was aware of the Baghdad attack, adding that the secretary and U.S. President Joe Biden had approved the action in advance.


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