DIA Director Calls ISIS War ‘Quagmire,’ But Removed Term From Congress Testimony

Aides Warned Him Term Was 'Too Political'

While other Pentagon officials, both civilian and military, delivered pessimistic comments on the ongoing ISIS war in testimony to Congress this week, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon’s spying wing, apparently had a lot more to say, and was convinced to keep his complaints out of the comments to Congress.

DIA Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart reportedly used the word “quagmire” repeatedly in discussing the ISIS war, particularly as it relates to Iraq, and had included the term in his planned testimony to Congress, before other Pentagon aides convinced him he had to remove the term for being “too political.”

Lt. Gen. Stewart did that, and kept the warnings restricted to comments to other Pentagon officials, having apparently been convinced that the term was not fit for public consumption, despite it being the most accurate term to describe his assessment.

Other analysts have been warning the ISIS war is an ill-conceived series of escalations with no end-game in sight, and having the DIA chief confirm this assessment would’ve gone a long way toward convincing Congress to talk seriously about the war that is happening. Instead, they only asked about the term “quagmire” to Gen. Martin Dempsey, the head of the joint chiefs, who simply dodged the question.

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.