Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday said the U.S. intends to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, not merely “contain” the militant group.
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“It’s not contain,” Hagel told CNN of the U.S. mission. “It’s exactly what the president said: degrade and destroy.”
His comments came hours after President Obama used the exact same phrase during a press conference in Estonia. Obama also said that he wanted to weaken the group to the “point where it is a manageable problem.”
Critics seized on those remarks, questioning if the president only intended to contain the group and arguing that he was not taking the threat seriously.