No more victory parades, Gates predicts

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that there would be no conclusion to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that ended in “a victory parade.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Gates, who held his post in both the Bush and Obama administrations, said that modern wars lacked the “clear-cut” definitions of victory that conflicts like World War II offered.

“If you look back to the Korean War, there are very few instances where we have been militarily engaged in a major conflict where we have come out with what we saw as a victory as clear-cut as in World War II or in the first Gulf War in 1991,” Gates said. “Whether it was Korea or Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan, there is not a conclusion to these conflicts that end in a victory parade.”

Gates also conceded that he was concerned that toward the end of his service, emotional concern over American bloodshed in the two wars was clouding his judgment about the use of additional military force in areas including Libya.

“By the end of the four years-plus ... I kept saying, ‘Can I just finish the two wars I'm already in before we go looking for another one?’” Gates said. “And I began to feel that, you know, my concern was, my priority was protecting the troops and that that might be affecting my objectivity in advising the president where they might need to be used.”

Gates also played coy when asked whether he could envision voting for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president.

“I think where I am now is that I think it's clear in the book that I have a lot of admiration for Hillary. I don't think that the Democrats welcome having a Republican handicap their 2016 race,” Gates said.

He admitted he was “trying to be evasive” but praised the former first lady when asked if she’d make a good president.

“I have a lot of respect for her, what she did and the way she conducted herself as secretary,” Gates said.