The White House has altered its language in defending their strategy against the Islamic State, finally admitting that they must "adapt" its strategy.
Jen Psaki, White House communications director, dismissed Sec. Ash Carter’s comment that Iraqi soldiers "showed no will to fight," directly contradicting the vice president’s words. The allegation undermines the White House strategy to equip and train Iraqi soldiers so that U.S. involvement can remain minimal.
"They've taken on this fight; they're continuing to, but we need to adapt our strategy too and adapt to the type of equipment that we're providing as time goes on and as ISIS adapts," Psaki said Wednesday morning on CNN.
In total, Psaki mentioned "adapting" six times in a four-minute interview, despite downplaying losses by claiming the fight against IS will have "good days and bad days." She refused to directly answer whether or not Iraqis have the will to fight.
The Obama administration’s strategy to "degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS" has been under heavy criticism from terrorism experts, government officials, lawmakers, former military generals, the media, and even Arabs in the fight.
Last week, the Islamic State drove out retreating Iraqi forces from Ramadi, the important central city in the Anbar Province. Once again the coalition army abandoned their posts and fled, allowing IS to capture hundreds of U.S. tanks and vehicles.
The news sparked outrage from many and grief from others. Debbie Lee said she was furious at the Joint Chiefs chairman’s comment that Ramadi was only a "symbolic victory" for IS. Lee’s son, Marc Allen Lee, sacrificed his life defending Ramadi, which now flies IS’s flags.
The White House called the loss of Ramadi a setback but played down its significance in the battle against IS.
"Are we going to light our hair on fire every time that there is a setback in the campaign against ISIL?" White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
John Kerry assured that the city would be taken back in "the coming days." More than a week later, it has not happened.
Obama, himself, asserted that Ramadi did not indicate the U.S. was losing its war with IS.
"I don’t think we’re losing," Obama said. "There’s no doubt there was a tactical setback, although Ramadi had been vulnerable for a very long time, primarily because these are not Iraqi security forces that we have trained or reinforced."
The Obama administration’s continued insistence on depicting a rosy picture of their fight against IS has exasperated many experts.
"I have very, very pessimistic views of the future of this country and indeed the future of this strategy and this war. I think the American people are not being told the truth about what's at stake and what is entailed in degrading and ultimately destroying ISIS," Michael Weiss, Islamic State expert, said last week following the IS capture of the ancient city of Palmyra.
The former head of the International Security Forces in Afghanistan and man credited with the death of the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq had strong words about the U.S.’s efforts in the Middle East.
"I'm not sure most Americans or most people in the world are exactly sure what our strategy is," Gen. Stanley McChrystal said.
Obama’s plan has been to recruit an Arab coalition against IS. His strategy was to arm and aid the coalition to assist their fight with the militant insurgency organization.
"We have a patina. We have a snip of a coalition. We really do not. You look at this and go what more could the United States do. There is a lot we can do. Its almost limitless how we can galvanize and lead but we've chosen to lead from behind," Maj. Gen. James "Spider" Marks said.
"We aren't in this mess because we went in Iraq but because we left Iraq and we didn't build a coalition when we had an opportunity to do that."