Remember those claims of “no casualties” after the Iranians’ retaliatory missile strike for the death of Qassem Soleimani? The Pentagon has a slight update for us more than a week later. No one died in the strikes, but nearly a dozen US troops had to be evacuated afterward for potential traumatic brain injuries — perhaps only concussions.

NBC’s Richard Engel reports that the Department of Defense expects them to return to service soon, but that they had a closer call than the Pentagon first let on:

“While no U.S. service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack … several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,” Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said in a statement.

“All personnel in the vicinity of a blast are screened for traumatic brain injury, and if deemed appropriate are transported to a higher level of care,” Urban said.

In the days after the attack, 11 service members have been transported to two hospitals, in Germany and Kuwait, for follow-up screening, Urban said.

He said that the service members were expected to return to Iraq following screening.

This raises a couple of questions about the sequence of events. Iran has hinted at contradictory narratives about its strike, bragging on one hand that they had killed 80 US troops and wounded more than two hundred more, while saying they deliberately calibrated the attack to avoid casualties. The NBC report on the strike shows, however, that they took aim at barracks and a “chow hall” where one would expect to find personnel — if the attack took place without warning. In this case, however, the troops got plenty of warning, and it’s been suggested that it might have come from the Iranians using their Iraqi contacts as go-betweens.

The more pertinent question, however, is why the Pentagon didn’t make these injuries publicly known at the time, or even the next couple of days when some of the symptoms would have begun to manifest themselves. The DoD certainly knows about the effects of blast waves after more than 16 years in Iraq, and should have been more cautious about any “no casualties” claims. A small number of concussions as a result of this attack would have still haven’t dented the US narrative after the retaliation, so it’s not clear what would have been gained from keeping that under wraps.

And of course, people will wonder whether Donald Trump was made aware of the casualties, as light as they apparently turned out to be. If not, the White House must be wondering why they weren’t kept in the loop. If they were kept in the loop, then Trump will come under considerable criticism for mischaracterizing the outcome of the attack, especially (as the clip above includes) mischaracterizing it for the purpose of campaign rallies.

It’s not the first time the American public has been given faulty information about war casualties, and this might be the least significant of those occasions. Speaking of which, the Inspector General for the Afghanistan reconstruction projects delivered a scathing report on the honesty of all three administrations involved in the war on Wednesday. This follows a Washington Post scoop a month ago on his report that everyone apparently wants to forget:

The special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction told Congress Wednesday that U.S. officials have routinely lied to the public during the 18-year war by exaggerating progress reports and inflating statistics to create a false appearance of success.

“There’s an odor of mendacity throughout the Afghanistan issue . . . mendacity and hubris,” John F. Sopko said in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “The problem is there is a disincentive, really, to tell the truth. We have created an incentive to almost require people to lie.”

As an example, Sopko said U.S. officials have lied in the past about the number of Afghan children enrolled in schools — a key marker of progress touted by the Obama administration — even though they “knew the data was bad.” He also said U.S. officials falsely claimed major gains in Afghan life expectancy that were statistically impossible to achieve.

In addition, Sopko criticized the Trump administration for classifying information that shows the war is going badly, including data on Afghan troop casualties and assessments of the Taliban’s strength.

We’ll have more on this later along with other updates on Afghanistan, but the impulse to spin is hardly limited to that theater. Even so, if this late update on casualties from the Iranian strike is part of an “odor of mendacity,” it’s really only a faint whiff. It does show how every administration is incentivized to produce only the sunniest spin on issues of war, and why a little bit of skepticism is usually a requirement in analyzing official reports, especially in the immediate aftermath of an operation.