A mere days ago the American public was still being told there were no American casualties as a result of Iran's Jan.8 ballistic missile attack on an Iraqi base hosting US forces.
And over a week ago, days following the attack, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said there was only damage to property at Al-Asad air base, going so far as to underscore: "Most importantly, no casualties, no friendly casualties, whether they are US, coalition, contractor, etc.," according to an official statement at the time.
But after on Friday it was revealed that eleven US soldiers were injured in the attack — some of them significantly given they were flown out of Iraq to be treated for head injuries — belatedly confirmed by US officials, the Pentagon is now pretending there was never a discrepancy in its clearly shifting accounts. Eight were actually flown all the way to medical facilities in Germany for advanced treatment, with three flown to Kuwait.
"The Pentagon said on Friday there had been no effort to play down or delay the release of information on concussive injuries from Iran's Jan. 8 attack on a base hosting U.S. forces in Iraq, saying the public learned just hours after the defense secretary," Reuters reports.
And then of course the gratuitous implication that anyone claiming otherwise has a conspiracy theory agenda: "This idea that there was an effort to de-emphasize injuries for some sort of amorphous political agenda doesn't hold water," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said.
Even CNN flatly charges that "Official US reports about the attack have shifted since it occurred." This much is obvious to anyone regardless on both sides of the aisle, whether supporters of Trump's Iran policy or not:
Asked about the apparent discrepancy, a Defense official told CNN, "That was the commander's assessment at the time. Symptoms emerged days after the fact, and they were treated out of an abundance of caution."
Now the Pentagon's explanation appears to be that Esper wasn't even informed of the eleven injured personnel until Thursday, as "only a certain set of injuries" are required to be reported to the Defense Secretary's office, according to CNN.
"Immediate reporting requirements up to the Pentagon are for incidents threatening of life, limb or eyesight, so actually (Traumatic Brain Injury) wouldn't rise to that threshold," Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah said on Friday.
In summary, the Pentagon wants you to believe that the biggest military attack on US forces in the Middle East in years via Iranian ballistic wasn't really that closely monitored for casualties... as if the entire upper echelons of the DoD chain of command had better and "more important" things to do than to closely monitor and assess injuries from the strike.
Next we'll be informed there was some innocuous and casual Netflix binge-watching in Pentagon offices the days following Iran's major ballistic missile attack on American forces. When you've lost even CNN and the entire mainstream, you've most definitely lost the plot.