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November 24, 2014

But What's the War Strategy?

The abrupt change of command at the Pentagon, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigning under pressure Monday, is more than a change of faces. It marks the final disillusionment with the two war-fighting strategies the United States has relied on for 13 years in Iraq and Afghanistan: the "hearts and minds" counterinsurgency formerly defined and pursued by Gen. David Petraeus, and the costly "train and equip" effort to build self-sustaining security forces in both countries. After the sacrifices of more than 5,300 American battle dead and 52,000 wounded, it has become clear that something more -- and different -- is needed, not least a new, strategy-savvy defense secretary who will articulate a coherent new approach, sell it to the White House, Congress, and the uniformed brass across the river at the Pentagon, and oversee its implementation.

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