Transcript: Martha Raddatz Interviews Gen. Ray Odierno

ODIERNO: Well, it depends. Again, our strategy is the Joint Security Stations stay and the Iraqis man these combat outposts. The Iraqis could ask us to stay in Mosul after June 30th, but that will be their decision, based on their assessment of the situation and based on what, if they ask us to stay we will probably stay and help them out, if they ask us to just provide them the advising and training support, then we'll do that. So there are still some decisions that have to be made.

RADDATZ: You gave the President three options, the most conservative 24 months ... to 16 months.

ODIERNO: Well what we did is first on January 21st, second day he asked for an update. We gave him an update on Iraq, Ambassador Crocker and I. At that time he asked us for three options. The 16 month, 19 month and 23 month options. So we laid that out with all the risks associated with each option. But the one thing I tell everybody is that it wasn't just that, it was also the residual force after the drawdown and then we gave a couple of options on the residual force. So it was a combination of those two events that he made his decision.

RADDATZ: And the different options on the residual force, is that what we have heard, 35-50,000 or were there greater options?

ODIERNO: I think the options were a 35,000 option or a 50,000 option.

RADDATZ: You are completely comfortable about where we ended up?

ODIERNO: I am. Because I feel I have been given enough flexibility to finish what we need to do. To transition from counterinsurgency to stability and then meet the timeline to move our forces out and then we have a residual force that will continue to train and advise and build capacity within Iraq which I think will move Iraq forward. The key piece for me was getting through the national elections and I think this allows me the flexibility to ensure we get through the national elections.

RADDATZ: And that residual force as you call it ... I know the president has said we'll get all combat troops out, but they are all combat trained troops. What exactly does that residual force...

ODIERNO: I would just say, I think we are calling it transition force now. And I think the transition force ... it's about a mission, it's not about whose doing it, it's a change in mission. We will no longer do combat operations. We always have a requirement to protect ourselves, I owe that to the mothers and fathers, I owe that to our country to make sure we are able to protect ourselves, and so we'll maintain the capacity to protect ourselves. So it's not so much whose doing it but the type of mission we're doing.

RADDATZ: What does that mean you no longer do combat operations? Does that mean you no longer go after high value targets, does that mean you no longer go after weapons caches?

ODIERNO: That means first of all, we'll do some? we'll no longer do conventional combat operations, we will do some counter terrorism operations, in coordination with the government of Iraq, that was clearly what the President said when he developed, announced his plan. So we'll continue to do counter terrorism operations in coordination with the government of Iraq, but our conventional combat operations will end and we'll be conducting purely stability operations, training and advising both operationally and institutionally, and then along with that, we will help our non-governmental organizations, United Nations, and the Provincial Reconstruction Teams to continue to build civil capacity.

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