Americans are tired of war: Gates

Last Updated: Sunday, June 19, 2011 - 23:39

Washington: US defence secretary Robert Gates on Sunday acknowledged that Americans are tired of war as he underlined that Washington did not have the right strategy and resources in Afghanistan till last year.

"I know the American people are tired of war. But, look, the reality is the United States had a very limited commitment in Afghanistan until well into 2008," said Gates, who retires at the end of this month.

"We did not have the right strategy and the right resources for this conflict and a lot of resources, those needed to do the job, until the late summer of 2010," Gates told CNN in an interview.

He said President Barack Obama made this decision for the second surge in December of 2009. "It took us some months to get the additional surge in," he said.

"So I understand everybody is war weary, but the reality is we won the first Afghan war in 2001 and 2002. We were diverted by Iraq, and we basically neglected Afghanistan for several years," he said in response to a question.

He said at the end of December 2006 when took over the top post at the Pentagon, 194 Americans had been killed in five years of warfare.

"That is the level of conflict that we were engaged in. So I understand we have been at war for 10 years, but we have not been at war full scale in Afghanistan, except since last summer," Gates underlined.

He said the objective in both of these wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) has been to end them on terms that enhance the United States` security, uphold America`s prestige and reputation, and advance US interests.

"If we can accomplish that, then bringing them to a close as quickly as possible, I think, is the right thing to do," he said.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, June 19, 2011 - 23:39

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