Hagel: US Firepower Won’t Solve Iraq’s Problems

Declines Comment on Whether US Will Escalate Airstrikes

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel admitted today that he was pressed by Iraqi Premier Hayder Abadi on shipments of heavy weapons as well as escalations of airstrikes.

Hagel declined any comment on what, if anything, he’d agreed to provide Abadi, but did say that US firepower would never be enough to solve all of Iraq’s problems, noting it didn’t work during the last war, and won’t work during this one.

Hagel’s belief that US military might is something less than absolutely transformative in all cases is a big reason why he was forced to tender his resignation, as the administration wants to replace him with someone who thinks the Pentagon’s power, like its budget, is near limitless.

That Hagel offered such a frank assessment of his view on Iraq, and yet declined to say what he told Abadi about the requests for further escalation of US involvement, however, suggests that as outgoing defense secretary he may not be in a position to turn down escalations of the war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.