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. Ron

    Where do we find such men........

    July 10, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. j

    That's 2 decades too long. What exactly are we attempting to accomplish in these countries? Are the lives of our young men and women worth it? The government needs to come up with a viable exit strategy and get out now. When is the government going to learn that wars aren't worth the costs?

    July 10, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. Victim of GOP Taliban

    No, no, no...this is highly deceptive. BOTH Obama and Clinton said a million times during their primary fight, that they will leave a residual defense force in those countries. 10 years to keep about 25 – 50K troops between both countries is reasonable to help with securing our embassies and defense of capitals.

    Whereas Bush and McFlipFlop wanted to keep us there for 100 years PLUS start a new war in Iran.

    July 10, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. Dave

    Typical of the American empire. The war is over but we never leave. Add a few more bases to our collection across the globe.

    July 10, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. DEM in HI

    Sorry, but it is time to pull the plug if this general thinks that we are going to fund the two corrupt government with taxpayer money for any time greater than what has been already described. We have spent billions and for what? Iraq is a war that we should have NEVER being involved with, and Afghanistan has been a dismal failure from the top down. We need to say enough is enough, and we are leaving on this date!

    July 10, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. Moderate

    Guess again!

    We, the people who would have to pay for it, won't!

    July 10, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Terry

    This speaks volumes about why we should have never gotten into these messes to begin with. Did we not learn a damn thing from Viet Nam?

    July 10, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Will

    America will leave Iraq and Afghanistan the same way the USSR left Afghanistan. At least I'm sure many nice, new, less imperialistic countries will be borne from the American Empire's ashes.

    July 10, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. NVa Native

    Isn't this exactly what Bin Laden said they wanted to happen?
    Keep us on some worthless patch of sand or dirt – spending huge amounts of money while loosing American lives – when it cost the terrorists what – maybe a few terrorists?!
    And by our military's estimates – only 50-70 terrorists left.

    July 10, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. Richard

    "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"

    Looks like th U.S. miltary has a long mission ahead of them – here in the U.S.!

    July 10, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. JEB B

    what good reason would it be for ; only so you casey and for them defense contractors to continue to line your pockets. with all the pentagons corrupt spending and waging war under the guise of freedom. you [casey] know that war money recycles right back into you peoples pockets be it blackwater , karzi , or inflated pricing for the cost of this war. what if you "casey " were fighting a real war. these afgan folks have no air force, or real army, no naval fleet etc. just rouge insurgents and you think another 10 yrs. you ol generals and commanders are not relevant you are war mongers and make me sick to the stomach. YOU LIE ........ YOU ARE THE REAL LIARS.

    July 10, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  12. Willa-PA

    Yeah, right. Well, we are in the Philipines, Korea, Germany, Africa, who knows where else...we did not have to go to Iraq and Afghanistan would have been over and done with if we didn't go to Iraq, maybe. Just saying. Barry is just cleaning up after Georgie's messes.

    July 10, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. javier Cruz

    A government that is representative of the will of the people, an economy that produces jobs and an educational system that educates their children.......isn't this exactly what the US presently needs too?

    July 10, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. John Wilson, Racine, WI

    NOT on your Bleeping Life, Gen. Casey!

    We know how this goes: 5 years becomes 10; 10 years becomes 15; 15 years becomes 20 and on and on, just like military spending for a certain air craft.

    WE THE PEOPLE will demand that you folks bring our troops home from this failed Nation Building experiment long before that!

    America FIRST!

    July 10, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. ib

    another part of the promised "change" from your messiah. Enjoy your Change.

    July 10, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. jeff jackson, alabama

    So we can change the mindset over there with our enormous
    world knowledge and highly technical whitherall ?
    It's starting to sound alot like old time Viet Nam rhetoric
    by our generals and our President.
    This war is a suck and switch for the American people
    by our peacock feathered leaders.

    July 10, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. Rachel

    To GuyinVA, and every other person out there who believes in the promises politicians make, it's time to stop deluding yourselves. If you voted for a politician because he or she promised you something you like, you're quite naive as to how politics work. If all politicians actually lived up to their promises they made while campaigning for office, our country would not be embroiled in the economic, environmental and moral crises consuming us.

    It's time to start demanding integrity from our politicians, and holding them accountable when they do not "follow through" with the promises made during campaigns. We have given politicians far too much power over us and it has crippled our country. It's time we changed how we deal with our politicians; rather than leave the power of decision-making up to them, we should be able to, as a community, as residents of our states and as a whole country on how and what we explicitly want our politicians to do for us. Until we exercise our democratic rights to determine how we want our country run on a regular basis, we are mere sheep controlled by wolves.

    July 10, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. Jobrater

    This is what Senator McCain told America during the 2008 presidential campaign only to be beaten over the head with it by Barack Obama and his minions. Tell the truth, lose. Lie, win. Gotta love gullible voters.

    July 10, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  19. GI Joe

    Guy - watch the re-runs again - it was all COMBAT troops. We'll be there forever just like we are in Germany, Korea, and everywhere else.

    July 10, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Tony Leyton

    Hey we've funded, weaponized and supported the bloody occupation of Palestine for over 60 years. That Beautiful Mediteranan Coastline is worth Trillions, even without oilfields or a strategic pipeline link. Our God helps those who "help themselves".

    July 10, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  21. GI Joe

    Sounds like other countries get what we don't -
    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.

    July 10, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. GI Joe

    But then, we have the GOP (dictated to by McTurtleface of KY) saying NO to everything to get our country on it's feet.

    Who will fight the American Al Quaeda (GObP and teabaggers) for us?

    July 10, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. The Taliban rule.....

    body bag counts are rising every day.....not only can Obama not beat the Taliban, he can't even identify them within the population....

    This is what happens when you have a community organizer as commander in chief....

    July 10, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  24. Doyle Wiley, MI

    General Casey, what we think is most important may not be what Afghanistan’s fell is most important. I disagree with your assessment, as long as the leader of the country is corrupt Afghanistan's future will be troubled.

    July 10, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. Obama's lust for war...

    is causing the death and maiming of America's finest.....

    Congress needs to withdraw funding and stop the madness....

    July 10, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
1 2 3