Monday, May 25, 2015

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter: Iraqi military forces showed no will to fight Islamic State

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter notes that Iraqi military forces showed no will to fight the Islamic State during that fall of Ramadi.

Carter: What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They were not out numbered but in fact they vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they failed to fight. They withdrew from the site. And that says to me, and I think to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves.

Now, we can give them training, we can give them equipment; we obviously can't give them the will to fight. But if we give them training, we give them equipment and give them support and give them some time, I hope they will develop the will to fight, because only if they fight can ISIL remain defeated.

CNN's Barbara Starr: A lot of people in Washington that you deal with on the other side of the aisle are saying, look, put in ground troops, put in forward air ground controllers -- air strikes are not working. What do you foresee? What is your view on this?

Carter: Air strikes are effective but neither they nor really anything we do can substitute for the Iraqi forces' will to fight.

They're the ones who have that to beat ISIL and keep then keep them beaten. We can participate in the defeat of ISIL but we can't make Iraq run as a decent place for people to live. We can't sustain the victory. Only the Iraqis can do that, and in particular, in this case, the Sunni tribes to the west.

If there comes a time when we need to change the kinds of support we're giving to the Iraqi forces, we'll make that recommendation. But what happened at Ramadi was a failure of the Iraqi forces to fight. And so our efforts now are devoted to providing their ground forces with the equipment, the training, and to try to encourage their will to fight so that our campaign enabling them can be successful both in defeating ISIL and keeping ISIL defeated in a sustained way.

But these things we need to -- all of our tactics.

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