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Editor's note: This essay, "Han, Greedo, and a Strategy of Prevention," is excerpted from the new book Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains Modern Military Conflict from Potomac Books. The volume — which includes work by more than 30 soldiers, scholars, and diplomats, along with a foreword by former general Stanley McChrystal — is available now online and in bookstores.

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U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Matthew Callahan

Mad Dog Mattis is at it again. The truth-teller to Marines, now secretary of defense, was asked: where is the long-promised revised strategy for Afghanistan? In response, he said it was slow in appearing because “strategy is hard.” Congress, too, is searching for strategic clarity as it just empaneled yet another bipartisan group to propose a framework for a new grand strategy. And nearly every pundit vying for your time agrees. We need a clear strategy and good measures for its achievement, so that we know what weapons to buy and where to pick fights, they often say.

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