Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates on Wednesday said it was a “serious mistake” for President Obama to draw a “red line” on the Syrian conflict last year, declaring chemical weapons use as the point at which the U.S. would intervene in the conflict.
“I always used to say to presidents, ‘If you cock the pistol, you gotta be willing to fire it,'” Gates told the Wall Street Journal.
Gates added that Americans don’t want their country to go to war.
“American people are frankly sick of war,” he said.
Gates is not the first to lament Obama’s “red line.” Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) in September called the President’s comments on Syrian use chemical weapons “embarrassing.”
Obama drew the “red line” in August 2012, and some have since speculated whether his comments about chemical weapons use in Syria were planned or not.