May 24th, 2015
03:53 PM ET

EXCLUSIVE: Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter: "Airstrikes are effective but neither they nor really anything we do can substitute for the Iraqi’s will to fight."

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, joined Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr to discuss ISIS, Iraqi forces and his belief that the Iraqi forces don’t have the will to fight. Text highlight and a transcript of the discussion are below

TEXT HIGHLIGHT

Carter on what he foresees as far as airstrikes, ground troops and troop air controllers:  “Airstrikes are effective but neither they nor really anything we do can substitute for the Iraqi’s will to fight.  They are the ones that have to beat ISIL and keep them beat. We can participate in the defeat of ISIL but we can't make Iraq a run as a decent place for people to live – we can’t sustain the victory, only the Iraqis can do that and in particular in this case the Sunni tribes to the West.  If there comes a time when we have to change the kinds of support we give we will make that recommendation but what happened in Ramadi was a failure of the Iraqi forces to fight and so our efforts now are devoted to providing their ground forces with the equipment, the training and encouraging their will to fight so that our campaign enabling them can be successful – both in defeating ISIL and keeping ISIL defeated in a sustained way.”

TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CARTER: What apparently happened is the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They were not outnumbered – In fact they vastly outnumbered the opposing force and yet they failed to fight and withdrew from the site. That says to me and I think to most of us that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves. Now we can give them training, we can give them equipment, we obviously can't give them the will to fight. But if we give them training, we give them equipment and give them support, and give them some time I hope they will develop the will to fight because only if they fight can ISIL remain defeated.

STARR: A lot of people in Washington that you deal with on the other side of the aisle say are saying – look put in ground troops,  put in forward troop air controllers, airstrikes are not working... what do you foresee – what is your view on this?

CARTER: Airstrikes are effective but neither they nor really anything we do can substitute for the Iraqi’s will to fight.  They are the one that have to beat ISIL and keep them beat. We can participate in the defeat of ISIL but we can't make Iraq a run as a decent place for people to live – we can’t sustain the victory, only the Iraqis can do that and in particular in this case the Sunni tribes to the West.  If there comes a time when we have to change the kinds of support we give we will make that recommendation but what happened in Ramadi was a failure of the Iraqi forces to fight and so our efforts now are devoted to providing their ground forces with the equipment, the training and encouraging their will to fight so that our campaign enabling them can be successful – both in defeating ISIL and keeping ISIL defeated in a sustained way.

CROSSTALK

CARTER But these things we need – all of our tactics

STARR: Making sure I understand you.

CARTER: and our procedures need to be

STARR: You are not forward air controllers on the ground yet?

CARTER: We have not made that recommendation.

END

 


Topics: Barbara Starr • CNN • State of the Union
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