SecDef Ash Carter tiptoes around Obama administration failure in Iraq

It’s got to be tough being Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense for President Obama. When your boss persists in a failed strategy and you desperately reckon with the disaster pending, you either resign and leave the Republic in the hands of a less capable successor, or you delicately try to tell the boss to try something else. At least that’s my estimation of what was going on yesterday and the Secretary of Defense went on CNN yesterday and said:

“If there comes a time when we have to change the kinds of support we give we will make that recommendation,” Mr. Carter said in an interview with CNN aired Sunday.

That’s pretty nebulous, but it suggests in bureaucrat-speak that things in Iraq and Syria are going to hell with ISIS, and the Obama administration doesn’t know what it is doing.

Mr. Carter offered a withering critique of the will of Iraqi defense forces in the fall of Ramadi to Islamic State.

“The Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight,” he said. “They were not outnumbered. In fact they vastly outnumbered the opposing force and yet they failed to fight and withdrew from the site...We can give them training, we can give them equipment. We obviously can’t give them the will to fight.”

As the Wall Street Journal article that quoted Carter noted:

Islamic State forces last week captured the key Iraqi city of Ramadi and also expanded their reach in Syria. Critics and even allies of the administration took to Sunday television talk shows to call for a strategy change by the administration to stem the advance of Islamic State forces. (snip)

Michele Flournoy, who served as undersecretary of defense under Mr. Obama from 2009 to 2012, and was in the running for the top job, said the administration needs to do more to turn the tide in Iraq.

“We have under-resourced the strategy,” she said on CNN. “We need to provide more firepower support.”

There does not seem to be a will to win. Is President Obama worried about American casualties if he provides forward observers to guide attack aircraft? Possibly. At the moment, many sorties are returning with full bomb loads because they cannot find clear targets to strike, thanks to the absence of on-the-ground guidance by American forces.

One thing is certain, however, and that is that the Obama/Clinton foreign policy in Iraq has been a disaster. Christians, Yazidis, and Muslims not strictly in accord with ISIS’s classical Islamic theology are being burned alive, enslaved, and genocided. A friend sums it up in an email:

 All of this death and destruction could have been prevented. Bush gave Obama a won war and a quiet Iraq and our President thought it was a good idea to pull all troops out. And, then when ISIS was still weak our President ignored the pleas of the Iraqis and our generals to give air support to Iraqis forces saying that ISIS was the “junior varsity” of terrorists

The world is aflame and our President is responsible for it.

Maybe Secretary Carter will see the wisdom of resigning in protest.