On the fall of Ramadi, Ash Carter, the U.S. secretary of defense, had this to say on CNN: “What apparently happened was that 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.” A few days earlier, Martin Dempsey, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made a similar point to a group of reporters in Brussels: “The ISF was not driven out of Ramadi. They drove out of Ramadi.”
These remarks constitute the latest evolution of administration talking points on our failing campaign against the Islamic State.
It is not every general who can find himself praised at the website of the Weekly Standard and by President Obama himself on the same day. But a defining trait of Joseph Dunford, nominated this week to replace Martin Dempsey as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the universality of the respect that he commands. I have never heard a credible source say a bad word about the man. Come to think of it, I have never heard an untrustworthy source speak ill of him.