July 10th, 2010
01:29 PM ET
12 years ago

Gen. Casey: America may be in Iraq and Afghanistan for another decade

(Updates with additional quotes)

Aspen, Colorado (CNN) - The United States may still be in the Afghanistan and Iraq region for another ten years, according to Gen. George Casey.

“The types of conflict that we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I think are likely to be fighting here for a decade or so, are focused on the people,” Casey, the army's Chief of Staff, said Friday night at the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival.

“We are not going to succeed in either place by military means alone. You are only going to succeed when the people perceive there is a government represented by their interests, when there is an economy that can give them a job to support their families, when there are educational systems that can educate their family. All those things are essential to the long term success of the military operation.”

Regarding the larger war against “a global extremist network,” Casey also said America has another "decade or so of persistent conflict."

“States, non-states and individual actors who are increasingly willing to use violence” are not going away in the short-term. Casey added, “We believe this is a long term ideological struggle.”

Casey also joked by quoting Yogi Berra: “Predictions are hard, especially when you are looking at the future.”

Earlier this week in Aspen, the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the U.S., Yousef al-Otaiba, stated he thought the United States should use force to stop Iran's nuclear program if sanctions did not work.

Casey responded by saying "There are no good solutions and the solution may be worse than the cure."

The four-star general, who has served in the army for over 40 years and will be leaving his post in nine months, stressed the importance of the long term health of the soldiers. The army has been aggressively studying post traumatic stress and suicide rates. It is also trying to give soldiers two years to recover after one year deployment.

"It's all about the people," Casey said referring to the strength of the American army.

In a statement to CNN, Casey's media advisor, LTC Rich Spiegel, said, "General Casey was speaking of the types of conflict we will be fighting for a decade or so. He did not, nor did he intend to, imply that we would be fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan for 10 more years."

Filed under: George Casey
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. GuyinVA

    How can this be? I (along with every other American) was promised that U.S. troops would be out of Iraq 16 months after the inauguration. That date passed almost two months ago, by the way.

    July 10, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. Brian L

    Just another reminder of what a colossal failure the previous administration was.

    Getting us in two unnecessary wars that our grandchildren will be paying for.

    July 10, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Pragmatic

    Then again ... maybe not: A senior Afghan official who was present at Karzai's meeting with Petraeusstated "We always try to teach our foreign partners how to deal with a situation like this. We Afghans know better than you."

    If you know better, then go ahead – it's all yours and we're out of here!
    Think of American lives saved and war funding cut!

    July 10, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Lets call these what they reall are: The Bush Wars.

    Bush is a human plague that keeps on giving....

    July 10, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. DENNA

    I am not surprised. We went in and destabilized these countries – Iraq unnecessarily – now we are stuck. The minute we turn our backs, the Taliban will be at it again and now they'll mad because we went messing with them. When will America ever get rid of the 'John Wayne" tough-guy attitude and learn that we can't make other countries see it our way. Thanks Georgie for the two messy wars you left us. Yes, that's right, these wars started under George Bush, no matter what Michael Steele says.

    July 10, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    What's is really sad is that it makes no difference whether we leave in 2011 or 2025. Either way, eventually, the result is going to be the same. When are we going to learn? Get in, fix problem as best as possible within a few years, and then GET OUT!!!

    July 10, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. pat

    Screw what Casey thinks, everyone is sick of this stupid war

    July 10, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  8. Wake up and smell the coffee

    "GuyinVA" - This is just a general giving HIS opinion that we "could' be there for another decade. Of course we could. We "could" be there even longer than that. We won't, though, because President Obama has already set a timeline for withdrawal and the American people no longer want to be in these wars that are draining our resources and going nowhere. This general also advocates using military force against Iran when we cannot even afford the two wars we are already waging. A third would be a calamity - something this general - who only focuses on fighting, not the consequences or the expense - seems not to have figured out. Therefore, I'm not giving this guy's opinion much weight.

    July 10, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. sickofthisbs

    GuyinVA, You took the words right out of my mouth. I think the Govt and Military know something we don't know. We have to let these other countries try to establish some democracy by themselves and help them along the way. We can not continue to occupy these countries while the good old USA suffer economically.

    July 10, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Ed, Bucks County, PA

    Is anyone suggesting that the US, unilaterally, keep our troops in that God forsaken country another 10 years without significant participation
    from our allies, Russia, and other "friendly" nations? 10 more years of seeing the coffins being unloaded at Dover AFB and the PTS treatment centers being over burdened – enough already!

    July 10, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. Larry from Texas

    Not like Vietnam? Really?

    July 10, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. Bob

    Bomb Iran – no problem and I agee. BUT no ground troops at all we simply bomb certain targets and leave them with the message = Do Not start again, mind your own business and leave the rest of the world alone.

    July 10, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. chuckieg

    If that is his statement, he should be fired. Get the Hell out of afgan, iraq and end the hole that sucks the economy and lives of men and women.

    July 10, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. Jesse

    I understand that real-life circumstances can change what any of us ideally wanted to happen with troop withdrawals in these regions. That being said, it saddens me to think that we could be involved with these wars another decade. What a waste of America's resources...money and more importantly lives.

    July 10, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. JT

    L – A – M – E
    I kinda doubt the American people are going to stand for this – you have the right screaming about Revolution – this is enough to get the whole country going – I think people are waking up and realizing where their tax dollars are going – and it's everywhere but here – I predict the fall of an empire if the Gov. tries to keep us locked in these theaters for that amount of time.

    July 10, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. Larry

    Casey is another flunkie left over from the Bush administration.

    This clown also wants to perpetuate the "Future Combat System", which is a $200 billion investment in basically WWII technology.

    Money, not purpose or goal, is directing these wars. And it will continue, as long as Bush's corrupt war hawks have any say in it.

    July 10, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. Randall in Torrance, CA - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED MY ASS!

    Jarge led the charge and then said "Mission Accomplished." He lied and 4400 died! This is unrefutable evidence that the Republicans must never be trusted AGAIN! This is the longest war in U.S. history with no end in sight, while our economy is ruined.

    Republicans have never repented for all the mistakes and lies they keep drawing attention away from.

    OBAMA-BIDEN 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 10, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Steve A. , New Braunfels , Texas

    This war has gotten boring, it's turned in to a sport, most Americans don't care who wins or loses we just want out.

    July 10, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. Michael

    And...one more time with clarity..."we are not bogged down?"
    Once again we have ignored history and now we are doomed to repeat it.

    July 10, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. thor

    I believe Obama said he was going to start removing troops from Iraq as soon as he became president.He has sent another 60,000 troops to fight in Afghanistan.He has said at the time of adding the last 30,000 soldiers in Afghanistan that he would start removing them in July of 2011.I say we need to get out of those countries now and not wait around with some false hope that things are going to get better when our soldiers are dying so that Obama can thump his chest.

    July 10, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. John

    How are we going to be out of Iraq/Afgan if we still have thousands of troops in Germany, Italy, etc. Why not bring them home and put them on the border? What good are they serving in our Allies countries?

    July 10, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. marlene

    I hope Gen. Casey was speaking for himself and not Sec. Gates. The military has a vested interest in war (otherwise they would be out of business). I may change my mind and urge support for Reps. Frank and Paul. Maybe Sec. Gates should insist the Joint Chiefs get approval for their public comments, before they make them. Marlene in Mich

    July 10, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    In the region is one thing- fighting is something else.
    Iraq need our money and help-not our military personnel.
    Afghanistan is a no win situation. Bin Ladenis not our enemy there- its the 1000's of men we have helped him recruit since we started this folly. With every year we cnontinue to figtht the number of recruits will double.
    There was a poster made popular in the 60's-
    What if they threw a war and nobody came?
    It holds true today- Afghanistan is no a winnable fight. Save our troops.

    July 10, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. DWells

    Amazing! When McCain said that the US would have a presence in this region indefinitely, Obama puffed up his chest and said that HE would get our troops out within 16 months. Oh wait – – – – – – – President Bush's fault again. Obama needs to grow up and accept the responsibilities for the job he spent millions upon millions of dollars to get. Unfortunately, people elected a person with NO leadership skills whatsoever. Hence the constant finger pointing.

    July 10, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. jack

    GWBush – Oh it will be fast, no one will die.

    July 10, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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