U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the U.S. is pursuing a ''long-term strategy against ISIL'' and it would increase support to Iraq ''in tandem with political progress.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke during a news conference on Thursday (August 21) at the Pentagon, saying that the U.S. is pursuing a "long-term strategy against ISIL because ISIL clearly poses a long-term threat." He encouraged political reform within Iraq; "A united Iraq will be a more secure and prosperous Iraq. Political reform will make it harder for ISIL to exploit sectarian divisions. The United State and the international community will increase support for Iraq in tandem with political progress," Hagel said. The U.S. military earlier this summer carried out an attempt to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria, a U.S. official said on Wednesday, in an operation that the Pentagon said ultimately failed to find the captives. "We all regret that mission did not succeed," said Hagel. "But I'm very proud, very proud of the U.S. forces that participated in it. And the United States will not relent our efforts to bring our citizens home and their captors to justice." Foley, 40, was beheaded by an Islamic State militant in a video that surfaced on the Internet on Tuesday. The unsuccessful rescue operation "involved air and ground components and was focused on a particular captor network within ISIL," the Pentagon said in a statement, using a different name for the militant group. Officials would not say exactly when the operation took place but said it was not in the last couple of weeks.