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Exit Nearing, Hagel Warns of Military Power Limits

Stars and Stripes reports that “as he prepares to hand over the reins of the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is warning that military power has its limits and Americans should avoid believing that force alone can transform conflict-riven societies in the Middle East and elsewhere.”  

“’It is easy to drift into other missions, and I do believe that you always have to ask the tough questions, [such as] what happens next? Where do you want this to end up,’ Hagel said in an interview with Stars and Stripes and Military Times. ‘Any secretary of defense has to always be on guard that we don’t inadvertently sometimes drift into a more accelerated use than we thought of what our military was going to be [doing] … I think the two long wars that we were in the last 13 years is pretty clear evidence of … how things can get out of control, and drift and wander.’”  

“Hagel’s warning came as the U.S. military has returned to Iraq — this time to help the Iraqi government defeat the Islamic State which has seized about a third of Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Central Command is conducting an air campaign against the militants, and about 1,550 U.S. troops have been sent to Iraq to train and advise government and Kurdish peshmerga forces. Another 800 troops are providing force protection.”

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