Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, left, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and U.S. President Barack Obama stand during taps at the Memorial Day service in the amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Monday, May 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he thinks direct U.S. intervention in Syria's civil war — particularly direct military involvement — would be a mistake.
Gates, who served both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, says he oversaw wars that began with quick regime change "and we all know what happened after that."
He asks on CBS' "Face that Nation, "Haven't we learned that when you go to war, the outcomes are unpredictable?"
To those who think intervention might be 'clean" and "neat," Gates says "most wars aren't that way."
He says that if the U.S. were to do anything in Syria, it might be picking opposition groups that the U.S. believes would have some degree of moderation, and providing them with intelligence and basic military equipment.
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