More U.S. military troops are on the ground to train and advise Iraqis on combatting the Islamic State, while Iraq is struggling to recruit enough candidates to fight the militant group.
This prompted Fox News reporter James Rosen to ask Wednesday, “Is Iraq today a quagmire?”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest answered cautiously.
“That’s not the word that I would use to describe it,” Earnest responded. “Iraq is a chaotic place. It is a place where our men and women in uniform who are there are serving our country in a dangerous place.”
“At the same time, because of the commitment of the central government in Iraq to unify that country, to govern in a multi-sectarian and inclusive way, there is promise for Iraq’s future,” Earnes said. “A commitment to that political path and a commitment to building a multi-sectarian security force that works hard not just to push back ISIL but also to protect the basic human rights of Iraqi population will be critical to their success in the future. “
Pressed on whether Obama shares some responsibility for the rise of the Islamic State, Earnest blamed former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Earnest also said the Islamic State rose from Al Qaeda in Iraq, which did not exist before the U.S. invasion.