Pentagon Betrays Apology to Gold Star Mother: ISIS Taking Ramadi Just a ‘Propaganda Boost’
Senior Pentagon official description to me on fall of Ramadi: It's a propaganda boost for the Islamic State. That's about it.
— MolotovFlicker Ignoring Your Questions Since 1902® (@MolotovFlicker) May 18, 2015
The Obama administration had Pentagon spokesmen putting out statements to reporters Sunday evening with the talking point that the ISIS defeat of the Iraqi army in Ramadi earlier Sunday was little more than a ‘propaganda boost’ for the Islamist terrorist group.
The off and on the record statements echo comments by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey last month dismissing the value of Ramadi that he ended up apologizing for to an outraged Gold Star Mother who had written an open letter to him. The statements issued Sunday by the Pentagon betray the sincerity of Dempsey’s apology.
A Pentagon reporter posted to Twitter an anonymous official downplaying the fall of Ramadi:
“Senior Pentagon official description to me on fall of Ramadi: It’s a propaganda boost for the Islamic State. That’s about it.”
Later, on the record comments were published using the same language.
““Ramadi has been contested since last summer and ISIL now has the advantage,” Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith said, using another acronym for Islamic State. She said the loss of the city would not mean the overall Iraq military campaign was turning in Islamic State’s favor, but acknowledged it would give the group a “propaganda boost.”
““That just means the coalition will have to support Iraqi forces to take it back later,” Smith said, adding that the United States continued providing it with air support and advice.”
“U.S. officials in Washington declined to confirm the turn of events, insisting, as they have for several days, even as it became clearer that the Islamic State was advancing aggressively in Ramadi, that nothing unexpected was taking place.
““We’re continuing to monitor reports of fighting in Ramadi and the situation remains fluid and contested. It is too early to make definitive statements about the situation on the ground,” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steven Warren said in an email. “The loss of Ramadi would not mean the tide of the campaign has turned . . . If lost, that just means the coalition will have to support Iraqi forces to take it back later.””
Last month Gen. Dempsey apologized to Debbie Lee, whose Navy SEAL son Marc Alan Lee had been killed in Ramadi in 2006, ABC News reported.
“The city under attack from ISIS fighters is “not symbolic in any way. It’s not been declared, you know, part of the caliphate, on the one hand, or central to the future of Iraq. But we want to get it back, Gen. Martin Dempsey said at a news conference last week.
“He explained at the time that the fight against ISIS “is not brick and mortar” and “I would much rather that Ramadi not fall, but it won’t be the end of the campaign should it fall,” Dempsey said.”
…”In his letter, Dempsey said he had read Lee’s open letter and wrote, “I do apologize if I’ve added to your grief.”
““Marc and so many others died fighting to provide a better future for Iraq,” he wrote. “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.”
“Dempsey said that in his comments he intended to convey that “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.”
The Pentagon released a statement Sunday detailing airstrikes against ISIS the previous 24 hour period of 0800 Saturday to 0800 Sunday local time. Only seven strikes were listed for Ramadi.
“- Near Ramadi, seven airstrikes struck one large and five small ISIL tactical units and an ISIL IED facility, destroying four ISIL resupply structures, three ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL buildings, two ISIL heavy machine guns, an ISIL VBIED and an ISIL motorcycle.”
After capturing Ramadi, ISIS took to social media to taunt President Barack Obama over seizing U.S. arms and materiel the Iraqi army abandoned as it fled the city.