Opinion

Defense secretary puts Obama’s whole Iraq strategy in question; they don’t have the will to fight?

President Obama’s Defense Secretary Ashton Carter might have sold out his president’s war strategy Sunday as well as American allies in Iraq when he said the key city of Ramadi fell to Islamic State militants last week because the Iraqi people have lost the “will to fight.”

“What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight,” Carter said during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“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.”

He listed what the United States was willing to offer in the fight against the extremists.

“Now, we can give them training, we can give them equipment… we obviously can’t give them the will to fight,” Carter said. “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.”

Openly questioning the courage of allied forces is rarely a recipe for strength in battle.

And considering that President Obama’s strategy in Iraq hinges mainly on Iraqi forces doing the fighting on the ground while America supports them from the air, Carter was questioning more than the courage of America’s allies. He was undermining the basis for the Obama administration’s entire plan to move forward.

It might be an ugly week in the Oval Office.

But even worse than all that, many viewers thought Carter’s comments were more than a little strange, considering the “lead from behind” administration’s own lack of will to take the fight to the enemy.

Aaron MacLean, Washington Free Beacon writer and managing editor tweeted:

And MacLean wasn’t the only one to see the irony.

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