Iraqi forces had ‘no will to fight,’ Defense secretary says

Iraqi forces had ‘no will to fight,’ Defense secretary says
© Getty Images

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on Sunday that the defeat Iraqi forces to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) at Ramadi was because of their lack of a will to fight, and he resisted Republican-led calls to put more American troops into the Middle East to combat ISIS.

ADVERTISEMENT

“What happened at Ramadi is the failure of the Iraqi forces to fight,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Our efforts now are devoted to providing their ground forces with the equipment, the training, to try and encourage their will to fight so that our campaign to enable them can be successful.”

Republicans, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), have said the United States should consider sending up to 10,000 troops to Iraq to help bolster training efforts there. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) endorsed an approach along those lines on “State of the Union,” saying more needs to be done to fight ISIS before they become entrenched in Iraq.

“Every day that goes by, the cost of liberating Iraq or the cost of defeating this cancer is only going to increase,” he said. “So I think we have to do the force that’s proportionate or, frankly, the violence proportionate that’s necessary to push back ISIS.”

Carter said the Obama administration is not yet ready to suggest larger troop levels in the region. He said Iraqis will have to be the ones to eventually finish the fight against ISIS.

“They’re the ones that have to beat ISIL and then keep them beaten,” he said, using the administration’s preferred acronym for ISIS. “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.”

Read more from The Hill:

Iraqi PM: Pentagon chief 'fed with the wrong information'