Secretary of Defense: Iraqi army “no will to fight”

Speaking for the first time since the fall of Ramadi to ISIS terrorists, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter expressed doubts about the resolve of the Iraqi army when interviewed by Barbara Starr on CNN’s State of the Union.  Carter asserted:  “What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight.”

Carter appears remarkably distant from a refined public-relations machine.

In a moment of anxiety, particularly when there exists no cure-all solution for the current challenges in Iraq, Carter’s observations refuse to take note of how this imperils our effort to defeat ISIS.  Iraq’s hopes hinge on the reliability of their American ally.  Despite the Iraqi army’s abysmal performance in face of broad ISIS gains with the fall of Palmyra and Ramadi, the lethality of these comments only serve to embolden our adversaries.

While the Iraqi ability to win may well rest beyond their level, without assistance, even rhetorical, from the U.S. and the West, the task of conquering ISIS becomes even more complex.  The deep, durable unhappiness expressed by Carter is a powerful indictment of the Iraqi potential to face an Iraq teeming with ISIS goons.

A commonsense response to ISIS victories is invincible, unflinching confidence and needs to be articulated in a way which is seen by Iraqi ally and ISIS adversaries alike as highlighting strengths and a unique ability to modify strategy to rebound from reversals on the battlefield.  Without re-assuring comments, the Iraqi military may burst asunder and lay the way for more astonishing ISIS carnage.

As the dismay mounts, one can imagine the mayhem among ISIS vandals as they celebrate the Defense Secretary waving the white flag.  Whatever the wisdom, it is not possible to pretend the conflict can be wished away.  It may gag Carter to admit it, while known in his marrow, his portrayal of Iraqi troops should not have been uttered from his lips.

Now is not the time to turn from reality.