- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

President Obama on Tuesday didn’t distance himself from Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s claim that Iraqi forces showed “no will to fight” last week when Islamic State terrorist fighters captured the town of Ramadi — but the White House also wouldn’t explicitly endorse the Pentagon chief’s comments.

Instead, administration officials said the fall of Ramadi can be attributed to a breakdown of “command and planning” on the part of Iraqi forces. White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that the Iraqi fighters clashing with the Islamic State in and around Ramadi haven’t been trained by the U.S. military, making them less effective on the battlefield.

“What the Iraqi government has acknowledged is that the setback that they experienced in Ramadi was at least in part attributable to a breakdown in some military command and planning,” Mr. Earnest said. “What the president has observed is that many of those forces, if not all of the forces, who have been fighting ISIL in Ramadi were not forces that had benefited from the training that the United States and our coalition partners have been engaged in to improve the capacity of Iraqi security forces.”

Speaking to CNN on Sunday, Mr. Carter blasted Iraqi forces, saying the U.S. cannot win the war against the Islamic State over the long term.

“We can’t sustain the victory,” he said. “Only the Iraqis can do that.”

Iraqi forces on Tuesday launched a military offensive to retake Ramadi, and Mr. Earnest said that demonstrates that Iraqi forces do indeed have some will to fight for their country.

“And we were pleased to see today that the Iraqi government announced the beginning of the mission to retake Ramadi and to drive ISIL out of Anbar province,” the press secretary said. “I think that is a clear indication of the will of the Iraqi security forces to fight. And the United States and our coalition partners will stand with them as they do so.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide