Defense Secretary Gates hails shift in focus to Afghanistan
By Ed O'Keefe
By The Post's Pentagon correspondent Greg Jaffe:
MILWAUKEE - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Tuesday called on a war-weary American public for patience in Afghanistan, arguing that after years of neglect the U.S. had finally devoted the necessary resources to a conflict that was long been overshadowed by the Iraq war.
"With the invasion of Iraq our attention- and resources- were diverted," Gates told an audience at an American Legion national convention in Milwaukee. "Afghanistan became a second tier priority for troops, equipment and security and development assistance."
Gates' remarks preceded a rare Oval Office address by President Obama, scheduled for Tuesday night, that will mark the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq and the fulfillment of the president's campaign pledge to end the war. Despite a diminished U.S. role in Iraq and some of the lowest levels of violence since the insurgency there took hold, the Iraq war remains far from finished. About 50,000 U.S. troops remain in the country to advise and train Iraqi forces.
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