WH stands by Carter's criticism of Iraqi forces

WH stands by Carter's criticism of Iraqi forces
© Getty Images

The White House on Tuesday stood by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's criticism of Iraqi military forces who were routed by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremists in Ramadi. 

Press secretary Josh Earnest said there was a “breakdown in some military command and planning” and that some Iraqi forces had not received training from the U.S. 

He said Carter’s comments are “consistent with the analysis he has received” from observers on the ground. 


Carter appeared to cause a stir Sunday between U.S. and Iraqi leaders when he said Iraqi troops showed “no will to fight” against ISIS.

Asked directly whether President Obama agreed with Carter's assessment that the Iraqis showed "no will to fight," Earnest said, "That certainly has been a problem we've seen in the past."

Vice President Biden phoned Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday to smooth over tensions and pledge continued U.S. support for Iraqi forces.

The White House broadly stood behind the Iraqi government’s strategy against ISIS and expressed confidence in forces that have received training.

Earnest called an Iraqi offensive launched to retake Ramadi from ISIS and drive the group back in Anbar province a “clear indication of the will of the Iraqi security forces to fight.”

He noted the Pentagon would supply about 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Iraq to help combat ISIS’s use of car bombs placed inside armored vehicles. 

The White House once again urged patience in judging the success or failure of the U.S. and Iraq’s ability to defeat the group. 

Earnest said, it “is going to take time” to build up a “capable local forces that is going to take the fight to ISIL in their own country.”

— Updated at 1:31 p.m.