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Pentagon Boss: Iraqis Had 'No Will to Fight' ISIS

Forces weren't outnumbered, just didn't try hard enough: Ash Carter
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2015 7:52 AM CDT
Pentagon Boss: Iraqis Had 'No Will to Fight' ISIS
Defense Secretary Ash Carter, right, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 6, 2015.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Last week's fall of Ramadi to the Islamic State was more a reflection of Iraqi weakness than ISIS' strength, says the US defense secretary. "What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight," Carter tells CNN in an interview today. "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 that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight (ISIS) and defend themselves."

CNN notes that there are currently 3,000 American troops in Iraq, none within range of combat; Carter says he's not looking to change that. "If there comes a time when we need to change the kinds of support we're giving to the Iraqi forces, we'll make that recommendation," he continues, adding that "we can give them training, we can give them equipment—we obviously can't give them the will to fight. But what happened in Ramadi was a failure of the Iraqi forces to fight." ISIS is reportedly on a killing spree in the city. (More ISIS stories.)

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