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Military Connection: What the Fall of Ramadi Shows

RamadiBy Debbie Gregory.

The White House has officially acknowledged the fall of the city of Ramadi to the Islamic State. A statement from the Obama administration calls the loss of Iraq’s Anbar province capital a “setback.” The Pentagon concurred with the White House’s summation, as both bodies maintain that the current strategies being used against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS and ISIL), will ultimately bring about the destruction of the terrorist group. Both the White House and the Pentagon urged patience to those who wanted a faster resolution to the Islamic State problem.

“Setbacks are regrettable but not uncommon in warfare,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey. “Much effort will now be required to reclaim the city.”

While those currently in power in Washington are campaigning to stay the course with our strategies in Iraq, there are others, including some who previously held positions of authority in the capital, who believe we should alter our tactics against the Islamic State. Former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates has said on national television that, “We don’t really have a strategy at all. We’re basically playing this day by day.”

Gates was speaking of the administration’s attempts to drive a wedge between Iraq’s Sunni tribes and the Islamic State. The former defense secretary has warned that if the situation keeps unfolding the way it currently is, we could see Iraq go down the same path as Yugoslavia.

“Right now, it looks like we’re going to see a lot of trouble in the Middle East for a long time,” Gates said.

The fall of Ramadi has caused suffering for the city’s residents, as well as a delay in any push to retake Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq. Mosul has been  an Islamic State stronghold since June, 2014. The loss of the city revealed that U.S. airstrikes, while effective, are not decisive. It also revealed further weaknesses in the already weak Iraqi Army. The U.S. had previously hoped that Iraqi government forces would have been ready to march on Mosul by April or May, but those hopes are now lost.

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Military Connection: What the Fall of Ramadi Shows: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Gold Star Mother’s Voice is Heard

LeeBy Debbie Gregory.

In mid-April, forces from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, gained control over much of the city of Ramadi in Iraq. At the time General Martin Dempsey, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commented that the fall of the city is “not symbolic in any way.”

But to some Americans, the city is very symbolic. For those who deployed to Iraq and fought there, and to those who lost loved ones there, the city of Ramadi is very symbolic.

Debbie Lee is the mother of Aviation Ordinanceman Second Class Petty Officer Marc Lee, a U.S. Navy SEAL who died on August 2, 2006 in Ramadi, Iraq. Mrs. Lee is a Gold Star Mother, one of the most highly respected designations in the military community. For the past several years, Debbie Lee has toured the country, spreading support for service members and their families. She also has her own blog on the website for America’sMightyWarriors.org, an organization that she started to support members of the military community.

In an April 17, 2015 blog entry entitled “Open Letter to Martin Dempsey”, Lee challenged the words of the nation’s highest ranking military officer. In it, the Gold Star Mother makes some heartfelt, compelling arguments, explaining how her son was the first SEAL to sacrifice his life in Iraq. She also pleaded the case of other service members who fought to gain control of the city in 2006.

“What about the troops who sacrificed their limbs and whose lives will never be the same. Our brave warriors who left a piece of themselves in Ramadi. What about the troops who struggle with PTS/TBI who watched their teammates breath their last or carried their wounded bodies to be medevac’d out of Ramadi,” Lee wrote.

General Dempsey responded to Lee in a personal note that was later published to NewsMax. In that note, the general apologized to the Gold Star Mother.

“I’ve read your letter, and I do apologize if I’ve added to your grief,” General Dempsey wrote. The note continued, “Marc and so many others died fighting to provide a better future for Iraq. He and those with whom he served did all that their nation asked. They won their fight, and nothing will ever diminish their accomplishments nor the honor in which we hold their service. We are in a different fight now, with a different enemy, and with a different relationship with the Government of Iraq. They must determine the path and pace of this fight. That’s what I intended to convey.”

General Dempsey followed his correspondence with a phone call to Lee. It has been reported that Lee felt the apology to be genuine. But she reportedly still disagrees with the general’s sentiment that the current conflict is against a different enemy than the one that her son died fighting against in 2006.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Gold Star Mother’s Voice is Heard: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: The Fall of Ramadi

dust

By Debbie Gregory.

The Iraqi security forces abandoned the last remaining positions in Ramadi as the city fell to the militant group Islamic State (ISIL/ISIS), who ransacked the provincial military headquarters, seizing a large store of weapons, and killing people loyal to the government. The fleeing Iraqi Army units left behind millions of dollars of American-made military gear, including dozens of tracked vehicles, among them about half a dozen M1 Abrams tanks and about 100 armored Humvees and other vehicles.

The chaotic battle involved a dust storm, dozens of Islamic State car bomb attacks and a breakdown in communications between Iraqi troops on the ground and the American advisers providing them with air support. The dust enabled militants to launch a wave of suicide bomb attacks at a moment when the city streets were shrouded in orange haze.

the spokesman for Anbar’s governor, said that at least 500 civilians and security personnel had been killed.

“Men, women, kids and fighters’ bodies are scattered on the ground,” said Sheikh Rafi al-Fahdawi, a tribal leader from Ramadi, who was in Baghdad on Sunday and whose men had been resisting the Islamic State.

Iraqi troops had limited visibility and feared their American ally’s capability to provide air cover might be compromised. The initial attack targeted Ramadi’s governing center, where the Iraqi Army maintained a heavily fortified headquarters.

“There was an armored bulldozer which knocked over the T-wall perimeters, which then was the first explosion. They then had an armored dump truck, an armored Humvee,” one senior State Department official said in describing the initial attack.

That was the first in a series of about 30 car bombs that took out entire city blocks.

The deterioration of Anbar over the past month underscored the ineffectiveness of the Iraqi Army, which is being trained by American military advisers. It also raised questions about the United States’ strategy to defeat the Islamic State.

The Iraqi Army tried to send a “reinforcing column” into Ramadi’s city center, but those troops immediately came under fire and retreated, “which then began a broader retreat from where the security forces were holding,” a State Department official said.

About 3,000 U.S. troops are deployed to Iraq, most advising and training Iraqi forces inside secure military installations. U.S. officials repeatedly have said they believe the strategy to defeat ISIS is working, and no major changes are needed.

Still, officials acknowledge the loss of Ramadi as a significant victory for ISIS and its attempt to expand its so-called caliphate.

But U.S. officials hope the setback is temporary and say this defeat looks nothing like the ISIS advance last June. When militants seized Mosul, Iraqi Army units fled in droves and ISIS consolidated control over dozens of cities in northern Iraq.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: The Fall of Ramadi: By Debbie Gregory