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Casey: U.S. Could be at War Another Decade

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey, right, and Army Secretary John McHugh, testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010, before the the Senate Armed Services Committee. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke
AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke

Updated July 10 at 2:52 p.m. ET

General George Casey, the Chief of Staff of the Army, said today the United States could face another "decade or so" of persistent conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In two months, the U.S. will have been at war in Afghanistan for nine years.

The four-star general said the U.S. military moved beyond conventional warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan "long ago," and that the focus is now on the people. Casey highlighted job, education and economic growth as essential to success in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When asked if enemies of the U.S. have to be a part of the reconciliation process for it to be considered a success, Casey said that is a "matter of debate," but that enemies have to be convinced they will lose.

In a follow-up statement to CBS News, a spokesperson for Gen. Casey, Lt. Col. Rich Spjegel, said that "General Casey was speaking of the types of conflict we will be fighting for a decade or so. He did not, nor did he intend to, imply that we would be fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan for 10 more years."

The general's comments were made at a session moderated by the New York Times' David Sanger at the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival. Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff was in the audience and his wife Meryl Chertoff, the Institute's Co-Director of Justice and Society Programs, introduced Casey.

To view a video of the Aspen Institute's discussion on "Our 21st-Century Army" click here.