Gates: Public Won't Stand for 'Long Slog' in Afghanistan

Turnaround must happen within year
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 19, 2009 2:38 PM CDT
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates addresses over 200 soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division during a town hall meeting at Fort Drum, N.Y., Thursday, July 16, 2009. Gates said he could send more U.S....   (AP Photo/Heather Ainsworth)
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(Newser) – Americans aren’t going to put up with a ‘long slog’ in Afghanistan, says Robert Gates: if the public doesn’t see things getting better within a year, support for the war will likely falter, he tells the Los Angeles Times. “After the Iraq experience, nobody is prepared to have a long slog where it is not apparent we are making headway," the defense secretary says.

"The troops are tired; the American people are pretty tired,” he notes. That’s not to say the war should be over in a year: the end of the conflict is a “long-term prospect.” His comments come during the deadliest month so far for Western troops, with 50 killed. As Congress and the administration face off over equipment funding, Gates played down any tension. “They know where I am coming from and I know what their concerns are.”