Facing eroding public support for the war in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that the Obama administration's effort in the 8-year-old conflict is "only now beginning."
Gates also said he disagrees with people who say it is time to get out of Afghanistan.
Several recent public opinion polls have shown Americans expressing declining support for the idea of sending more troops to the conflict and falling confidence in how the campaign is going. But at a Pentagon news conference, Gates challenged the public perception that the effort is getting away from the administration.
"I don't believe that the war is slipping through the administration's fingers," Gates said. "The nation has been at war for eight years. The fact that Americans would be tired of having their sons and daughters at risk and in battle is not surprising."