The Middle East and Central Asia — particularly Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan — will remain a problem spot well into the future, but military power alone won't be enough to bring peace and stability to the region, President Bush's chief military adviser said at the University of Kentucky on Friday night.
Instead, Adm. Michael Mullen said, a variety of international partnerships will be needed, plus sending more American experts to teach the region's troubled countries such things as how to build strong police forces and create economically viable systems of agriculture and business. That means civilians trained in those areas will be needed to help create viable systems of agriculture and business.
"It's important to see the world through other people's eyes, not just our own eyes," Mullen said, striking a global tone. He said that America too often has failed to do that. In the future, he said, "that isn't going to work."
Mullen said he's concerned that U.S. soldiers and Marines are "stressed and pressed" as a result of revolving combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. They spend 12 to 15 months overseas, come home for a year, then go for another tour, he noted. "There is a limit to how many times you can do that," Mullen said. Marines and soldiers do a "magnificent job," he said, "but they can't do this forever."
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