President Obama is defending his military strategy against Islamic State terrorists in an exclusive interview with Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg.
“No, I don’t think we’re losing,” Obama said in the interview, referring to the fall of Ramadi to ISIS as a “tactical setback.”
“Ramadi had been vulnerable for a very long time, primarily because these are not Iraqi security forces that we have trained or reinforced,” he explained. “They have been there essentially for a year without sufficient reinforcements, and the number of ISIL that have come into the city now are relatively small compared to what happened in Mosul.”
Obama asserted that it was “a mistake” to invade Iraq in the first place, blaming Prime Minister Maliki for failing to “reach out effectively” to sufficiently stabilize Iraq after American forces left.
“[I]f the Iraqis themselves are not willing or capable to arrive at the political accommodations necessary to govern, if they are not willing to fight for the security of their country, we cannot do that for them,” he said.