Lloyd Austin Cancels Trip After Another Hospitalization

(RepublicanJournal.org) – With US forces stepping up operations against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, the Pentagon is leaderless again. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who underwent treatment for prostate cancer in December and spent most of January out of action, was recently admitted to the hospital again for the third time. His trip to to Brussels was nixed as a result.

There were raised eyebrows on January 5, when the Defense Department admitted that Austin was in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and had been there since New Year’s Day, for an undisclosed medical problem (which we now know was prostate cancer). Worse, even President Biden and other administration officials didn’t know Austin had been hospitalized.

That led Republicans to demand a briefing on what had gone wrong and prompted Austin to apologize to Biden for the breakdown in communications. In a February 1 statement, he admitted that he should have told Biden, “my team and the American public” about his cancer diagnosis and his absence from duty. The Pentagon Press Association released a statement calling the incident an “outrage.”

Now Austin is back in Walter Reed. On February 11, his security detail took him to the hospital for symptoms that suggest a bladder problem. After tests, he was admitted to the critical care unit. In a statement, the Pentagon said it’s “not clear” how long he’ll stay in this time, but added that the bladder problem shouldn’t stop him from making a full recovery from the cancer.

When Austin was taken to the medical center on Sunday, his powers were transferred to his deputy, Kathleen Hicks. That’s certainly an improvement over last time when Hicks — who was on leave at the time — only took over the day after Austin was hospitalized.

This new health issue comes at an inconvenient time. Since January 11, US forces have been carrying out strikes against the Houthi terrorist group while three US Army troops were recently killed by a drone strike in Jordan. Austin’s latest illness has already forced him to cancel a planned trip to NATO headquarters in Brussels; this is not a good time for US military leadership to be in turmoil.

Austin was released from the hospital on 2/13, and plans to return to his duties later this week.

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