So, almost the exact same quotes, completely different headlines.
First, from the Financial Times:
US sees quick victory in Afghanistan
By Daniel Dombey in Washington
Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, on Thursday rejected the idea of US troops staying in Afghanistan for decades, insisting the Taliban and al-Qaeda could be defeated in “a few years”, although he agreed development efforts would continue long afterwards.
Second, from AP (only in the Arizona Star Net, for some weird reason):
Downbeat Gates: Afghan war won't be won anytime soon
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon presented a grim portrait of the Afghanistan war Thursday, offering no assurances about how long Americans will be fighting there or how many U.S. combat troops it will take to win.
Defeating the Taliban and al-Qaida will take "a few years," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, with success on a larger scale in the desperately poor country a much longer proposition. He acknowledged that the Taliban have a firm hold on parts of the country President Obama has called vital to U.S. security.
Apparently whether "a few years" is a good thing or a bad thing depends on your perspective...
I think the Financial Times needs a better editor, though. Everyone knows that commas and periods go inside the quotation marks. (Unless you're linking to something, as I've discovered - it just looks wrong when the link includes the comma.)