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DIA Director Calls Iraq 'Quagmire'

By    |   Wednesday, 17 Jun 2015 07:18 PM

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart believes Iraq has become a "quagmire" but ordered that word stricken from his prepared Capitol Hill testimony, Fox News reports.

Fox's James Rosen obtained internal documents that showed Stewart agreed with staff analysts who used the term "quagmire" in regard to America's fight against the Islamic State (ISIS). Other members of his staff, however, argued that the word is "too political," and shouldn't be included in his public remarks.

A quagmire is defined as a difficult situation to get out of, Rosen notes, and it is particularly problematic for the United States in regard to war because it often was applied to the Vietnam War.

The documents obtained by Fox News also show that the DIA believes the main reason the battle against ISIS is facing difficulties is because there has been no political reconciliation in Iraq and that the Sunnis whom President Barack Obama aims to train and equip to fight ISIS "do not trust" the United States.

Rosen asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest at Wednesday's press briefing if Iraq is a quagmire.

Earnest said he wouldn't use that term, but admitted, "Iraq is a chaotic place."

Rosen also asked whether the Sunni tribal forces mistrust America.

Earnest called that a "broad generalization," but added, "No doubt, there are some who may have some doubts about the United States and our intentions."

Story continues below video.


During House Armed Services Committee testimony, Rep. John Kline, a Minnesota Republican, asked Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey, "Where are we in Iraq today? Are we winning? Are we losing? Is it a stalemate? Is it a quagmire?"

Dempsey did not specially speak to the term "quagmire," Rosen notes, and also didn't use terms related to victory.

"We are on path to deliver that which we've committed to delivering," Dempsey said.

Barry R. Posen, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program, has used the term as well in his essay, "Prelude to a Quagmire" on ForeignPolicy.com.

"This has that feel of taking little steps that the government believes are discreet, discriminate, reversible, practical and effective that turn out to be none of those things, and instead commit you ever more deeply to the fight," Posen told Fox News. "Because it always turns out that war is more complicated than you think."

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Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart believes Iraq has become a "quagmire" but ordered that word stricken from his prepared Capitol Hill testimony, Fox News reports.
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2015-18-17
Wednesday, 17 Jun 2015 07:18 PM
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