Sen. Sullivan: Prepare for Long War

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan is one of five freshmen on the Senate Armed Services committee, and he’s carving out a place for himself among the national security hawks. Today  the committee heard from two architects of the 2007 surge in Iraq. Retired General Jack Keane calls President Obama’s war strategy “fundamentally flawed” and says it can’t defeat Islamic State. Frederick Kagan, a former advisor to General Petraeus, says the U.S. should now send up to 20,000 troops to Iraq. Sen. Sullivan had a chance to ask questions near the end of the hearing. Sullian says the president should prepare Americans for prolonged war.

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“I think sometimes we look at what’s going on with ISIS and other issues in the Middle East and think we’re going to have this done in a couple months, 18 months, 20 months, maybe a couple of years,” he said.

Sullivan says Obama should tell Americans this war will last much longer and win their support for ongoing U.S. combat in the Middle East. The senator looked to the witnesses for back-up.

“Do you think that there’s an importance to have the leadership, both in terms of Congress, but particularly the executive branch, talk more broadly and, again, level with the American people about, ‘Look, this might be a generational conflict. This might be akin to the Cold War’?”

Kagan, now at the American Enterprise Institute, agreed.

“We do need to understand that this is a war. These are battlefronts on a common war that is going to last for a long time, and we don’t get to end it. Unless we win,” he said. “We may not be interested in war, but war is interested in us.”

None of the witnesses at the Senate Armed Services Hearing defended the current military strategy. Committee Chairman John McCain of Arizona said the Defense secretary and the chairman of the joint chiefs will testify at a hearing in June.