2015 May 24 Sunday
US Defense Secretary Carter Notices Iraqi Army Won't Fight

The Iraqi Army withdrew from Ramadi in the face of a much smaller fighting force. Someone higher up in the US government noticed this recurring unwillingness to fight.

"The Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight," he told CNN's State of the Union program. "They vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they withdrew from the site."

What are the reasons for this continued terrible fighting performance? A number of possibilities come to mind. For example, the soldiers were not trying to protect the territories of their tribes. Why fight for something that does not help one's tribe? Or, hey, who are all these people in this fighting unit? They are from other tribes. Why should I fight to protect them? Or, hey, I only joined the Iraqi Army to get paid, not to put my life at risk. Why would I want to do that?

I wonder if the Iraqi government should use mercenaries. They could offer mercenaries bonuses for capturing specific cities. What would it cost to recapture Ramadi? What would Ghurkas charge? Or perhaps some aging white South African mercenaries. They just did a bang-up job against Boko Haram in Nigeria (which also has an army that can't fight). Or go east and recruit some South Korean and Taiwanese military veterans to take a couple of cities.

Lets be real. The Iraqi army isn't going to grow some big cojones. Price out the cost of mercs to do the job and get it done quickly. I'd go for Palmyra first just because I care more about ancient relics than who controls Fallujah or Ramadi. But whoever pays for the mercs can capture whatever cities they want to capture.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2015 May 24 07:34 PM 

Glengarry said at May 24, 2015 11:45 PM:

I have a better idea. Why not just use Americans?

Black Death said at May 25, 2015 5:35 AM:

Hard to figure. In the Iran-Iraq conflict (1980-1988, the twentieth century's longest conventional war), the Iraqi army fought the more numerous (but less well equipped) Iranians to a bloody draw. Casualties were enormous (combined total over one million, including civilians), but the Iraqis didn't give in. But now our "new" Iraqi army, established with billions of dollars from American taxpayers, throws down its arms and runs away before a less numerous (but more determines) foe. Perhaps the fact that Saddam Hussein had soldiers shot for running away has something to do with it.

JB said at May 25, 2015 9:19 AM:

This guy explains it:


Jimjhobe said at May 25, 2015 10:34 AM:

There is no such nation as "Iraq" and there are no such people as "Iraqis".

Seth W. said at May 25, 2015 2:41 PM:

"The Iraqi army isn't going to grow some big cojones."

Well I do not appreciate this kind of talk. It's trash talk and I remember our dear army isn't exactly known for their big cojones either. Remember all the rape, abuse and plunder perpetrated by "our boys" who showed only what cowards they could be? As the saying goes "We're not manaly, but we're many", well that applies to the American Army very well at this moment in time. Same goes for the police neanderthals with license to kill, without arrest, trial, sentence or nothing.

By the way, when are we getting the hell out of Iraq and let them live whatever life we left for them to live?

What "cojones" are you talking about? What kind of education did you receive? Texan? Or is it Alabaman?

Wolf-Dog said at May 25, 2015 8:19 PM:

So you think that Texas and Alabama is worthless. Brilliant.

Wolf-Dog said at May 26, 2015 6:16 PM:

[Randall Parker comments: Do not paste entire copyright articles into a comment. You are violating copyright. I deleted most of what you pasted. Do not do that again.]

According to this new Wall Street Journal article, the real reason ISIS so successfully conquered the town is not that the Iraqi troops were not fighting well. On the contrary, the Iraqi troops were even bolstered by elite American special forces. According to this disturbing article, the ISIS commanders became far more sophisticated and they introduced remarkable tactics that shocked even the American troops. Of course, their secret weapon that is the least underestimated, is their far more literal interpretation of their religious text, in such a way that they do not fear death. Even in Nazi Germany, only a small fraction of the Nazi occultists strongly believed their metaphysical Aryan theories of immortality and life after death, and therefore there was a limit to the fanaticism of Nazi troops. ( Incidentally, when Berlin was about to fall, the most fanatical Nazi troops who fought until the last moment without losing their nerve were not native Germans, they were Bosnian and Albanian Muslim troops who became Nazis. )

I recommend reading the entire article because this might be the tip of the iceberg for the next few decades. Even if we destroy ISIS completely, probably many other Jihad groups will emerge.


How Islamic State’s Win in Ramadi Reveals New Weapons, Tactical Sophistication and Prowess

Islamic State commanders evaded surveillance and airstrikes to bring reinforcements to its front lines in western Iraq. The group displayed a high degree of operational security by silencing its social media and propaganda teams during the Ramadi surge.

The group also churned out dozens of formidable new weapons by converting captured U.S. military armored vehicles designed to be impervious to small-arms fire into megabombs with payloads equal to the force of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Wolf-Dog said at May 27, 2015 12:28 AM:

And even more remarkable than the armored vehicles that were used as truck bombs that can carry many tons of explosives equivalent to mini-nukes, ISIS also used a special armored bulldozer to remove the concrete blocks that the Iraqi and American engineers had placed as obstacles on the roads to prevent such truck bombs from reaching military facilities, And once these obstacles were removed, many of these armored truck bombs were unleashed. The crews operating the armored bulldozer and the armored bomb trucks were in a win-win situation: death meant immortality in the other world.

Wolf-Dog said at May 27, 2015 12:36 AM:

Sorry about the copyrighted article. I incorrectly thought that an article that is in the public domain (available without subscription) would be OK if I provide the link and the name of the author. But thanks for removing most of it.

Wolf-Dog said at May 27, 2015 1:42 AM:

This is VERY strange, because when I first googled that article above, the same link allowed me to read the whole thing, but right now when I clicked on the link above, it is requiring subscription or signing in! For the record, I do not have a subscription to Wall Street Journal, I accessed that article without any privileges.

Apparently they are intermittently reducing accessibility after making it completely available initially.

Wolf-Dog said at May 27, 2015 9:18 AM:

The mystery is resolved: If you google that article by typing some of the words in the title of the article, and then if you click on the link that Google provides, the entire article is accessible! But if you click on the link pasted above a few messages ago, then the article requires subscription!

So you cannot read that article by clicking on the link above, instead, you must first google it and then click on the result that Google gives.

Seth W. said at May 27, 2015 2:32 PM:

To Wolf-Dog,

Yes, pretty much.

Wolf-Dog said at May 27, 2015 4:26 PM:

Seth W: How about Arkansas? After all, since Bill Clinton was born and raised there, in your book he would be also be an unintelligent redneck. Maybe your book doesn't have enough pages.:)

Jim said at May 28, 2015 8:43 AM:

Seth W. - Texas actually has some excellent universities - UT, Texas A&M, Rice for example.

ivvenalis said at May 29, 2015 8:29 AM:

I doubt you'd have any luck using mercenaries to grind through a city like Ramadi. House-to-house fighting like that is pretty iffy from a merc's perspective: you're pretty likely to die, and then you don't get your money. They would've been great defending the city though. What you want for this kind of stuff are young meatheads fighting for chicks and glory; the Syrians and Ukrainians have both been doing this. This appears to be happening in Iraq, although the tricky part is getting your paramilitaries to fight outside their turf.

The DoD needs to publicly accuse the Iraqis of cowardice and stop sending them goodies until they either shape up or die. There is no theoretical or historical reason to think that shoveling more money at an army like this is going to make up for basic deficits in character or competence. Then again, these are the ideological compatriots of the people in charge of e.g. American education policy, so it may be hopeless.

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