In one of harshest statements issued by a top Obama administration official since the fall of Ramadi, Defense Secretary Ash Carter blamed the Iraqi forces for the city’s capture, saying that the forces lack “the will to fight.”
According to CNN, Carter said, “What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight.
“They were not outnumbered. 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.”
With the ISIS gaining foothold and seizing more territory, the United States has increased the shipment of arms to aid the Iraqi troops. However, Carter emphasizes that Iraqi military needs to step up and take charge.
He said, “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.”
According to The Guardian, Hakim al-Zamili, the head of Iraq’s parliamentary defense and security committee, Carter’s comments are “unrealistic and baseless.”
He stated that the blame for the fall of Ramadi should be equally shared by the U.S. since it failed to provide “good equipment, weapons and aerial support” to the soldiers. He further said that the U.S. military intends to “throw the blame on somebody else.”
As the ISIS is becoming more powerful than ever, the approach of Obama’s administration in Iraq is being questioned.
Carter defended the deployment of the U.S. air strikes, saying they are an effective part of the fight, but added that they cannot be a substitute to the willingness of the Iraqi forces to defend their country.
Carter said, “We can participate in the defeat of [Isis], But we can’t make Iraq … 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.”
He further said that, despite the continued provision of equipment and training, the American support will not be adequate for a guaranteed win in the fight against terrorism.
“That is why I think we need to redouble our efforts to get — hasten this delivery of equipment to them, their training to support Prime Minister Abadi,” he said. “We can’t make this happen by ourselves, but we can assist it to happen, and we are counting on the Iraqi people to come behind a multi-sectarian government in Baghdad.
“But again, we can’t make that happen. We can only help create the conditions in which it will happen.”
On the other hand, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) criticized President Obama for not increasing the number of U.S. combat ground troops in Iraq, according to New York Daily News.
He said, “George W. Bush at least had the guts to reverse and respond with the surge. I wish, I pray, Barack Obama would do the same thing.”
Although 3,000 U.S. military personnel have been sent to Iraq to train their forces, they haven’t been deployed in the combat.
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