Now, if this were a courtroom drama, somebody would say, “Counsel asserts facts which are not in evidence.” Because the Iraqis, yes, their leadership (especially at political level) sucks. But so does ISIL’s. They’re winning not because their
Joes Jamals are better, or because their leaders are better, but because they (1) know what they’re fighting for and (2) have support.
The Iraqis, conversely, are not fighting to win, but not to lose; and they have only half-hearted, grudging support from both of their external supporters, the USA and Iran. Both nations are willing to give the Iraqis a little boost, just enough so that they don’t lose; but neither really wants the Iraqis to win. That’s why ISIL is winning: in wars where only one side commits to victory, the outcome is foreordained.
Yet the clueless, who find their geographic centroid south of Philly and north of Richmond, are writing stuff like this, reporting on the statements of others with recklessly low levels of Vitamin Clue:
Furious American policymakers blasted the Iraqis for effectively abandoning the city. The Iraqi army “was not driven out of Ramadi,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told reporters at a NATO summit in Brussels last week. “They drove out of Ramadi.” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, meanwhile, used an interview Sunday to publicly accuse the Iraqis of lacking the “will to fight,” The White House quickly tried to walk the comments back, but there is little doubt Carter was speaking for many inside the Pentagon.
“Walk the comments back.” That reminds us that there are two types of suits in national-security policy positions currently: academics with fashionable ideas about how America needs to decline, and former speechwriters and spin artists who think you can lie your way out of anything.
It takes some balls for a couple of palace eunuchs like Dempsey and Carter to talk about “lacking will to fight.” We have heard that the US “airstrikes” in support of the Ramadi defense were, seven, count ’em, 7, sorties. “Here’s your bombs, little brown guys. Make ’em count.”
We don’t know where Martin Dempsey and Ash Carter got the balls to say that stuff, but they ought to spit ’em out — any balls in the possession of either one of those geldings have to belong to someone else.
These two wizards of withdrawal have been the architects of ABED: abandonment, bugout, escape, and defeat.
And they’re preparing to do the same in Afghanistan. Top. Men.
So naturally Foreign Policy, which thinks Tom Ricks is smarter than anyone who ever put on a uniform (in part, because he never put on a uniform), thinks the US has been betrayed by the Iraqis here.
The Defense chief’s comments hinted at the biggest question hanging over both the Ramadi fight and the broader push against the Islamic State: can Baghdad win the war if its generals seem to be continually out-thought and out-maneuvered by their counterparts from the militant group?
I don’t know if that post was Ricks — perhaps not, it’s not bursting its banks with self-regard, the very Presidential-selfie of defense reporting — but it’s the sort of miscued nonsense he’s written his whole career, and naturally he’s now orbited by young, ambitious versions of his unaware-but-never-uncertain self.
Exercise for the reader: imagine Armchair Admiral General Ricks with his never-leaves-Acelaland attitude, transported in time to World War II.
“Why can’t the Poles stand up to the Germans? Is it Hitler’s leadership?”
“Which Admirals Should Hang for Pearl Harbor?”
“Ploesti Raid: Record Casualties, Production Uninterrupted. Time to Negotiate?”
“Allies Still Bogged Down in Italy. Mussolini Rescued. Are Our Generals Goldbricking?”
It’s a fun game: Beltway Defense Journalist. Anybody can play! Unless you know something about the military and defense.
But the shucking of responsibility in the Pentagon will have serious consequences. It took us fifteen years of recovery (and a couple of wars that would have been unnecessary) to overcome the damage to our reputation illustrated by that last chopper out of Saigon.
Everybody in Iraq who trusted us has been receiving the Delta House president’s answer: “You F’d up. You trusted us.”