This was essentially a face-saving operation for Washington, albeit based on fiction, not fact since the US defense agency failed to provide any proof to support its claims. For their part, both Russia and Iran, where the Pentagon says the missiles fell, denied these allegations. Iranian Brigadier General Moussa Kamali called them "blatant lies" in an interview with Sputnik.
Still, the US Department of Defense decided to spread the misinformation because it views the US missile strikes as damaging for US reputation.
"The real harm [to the US] comes from the loss of American prestige suffered as a result of Russia's stunning display of the kind of military prowess previously thought to be the sole purview of the United States military … and the loss of face that comes with the accompanying regional and global realization that when it comes to the great game being played out today in regard to Syria, Russia holds nearly all the cards," former US Marine intelligence officer Scott Ritter asserted.
"The real story, according to the spin being placed on the story by the Pentagon (and willingly echoed by an all-too compliant American media) is the alleged violation of Iranian territory that occurred when these missiles hit earth. The goal in emphasizing this aspect of the story … is clear — to generate some sort of political fallout within Iran over a violation of its territorial sovereignty," Ritter explained in an article titled "The Trouble with Missiles."
Washington also wanted to downplay the fact that as Ritter put it "the Americans adamantly refused" to join the new intelligence center in Baghdad where Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq coordinate their efforts aimed at defeating the Islamic State.