FULL 'This Week' Transcript for Nov.29, 2009

I think it's going to be -- you talked about the familiar rhetoric -- it's going to be the Bush program, which is, as he used to say, as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down. He's going to say, as the Afghans stand up, we'll stand down. Meaning we're there to train them and get out.

Mr. Gibbs said at the White House, the press spokesman, we will not be there nine more years.

The problem is, the Afghans know that. And they know that the Taliban will be.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That is the problem. And let me bring Matthew Dowd in here on this question, because the president has got to speak to many different audiences on Tuesday night, and it seems on the one hand, he's going to be arguing to the Afghans, the Taliban and the Pakistanis, we are there to stay, while at the same time arguing to the American public, no, we're going to go.

DOWD: He has got a really difficult problem because he's got an international audience, as you say, that he's got to talk to, and also a domestic audience that's already flipped on him from where he was at the beginning of this presidency, when the majority of people supported what he was doing in Afghanistan. Now the majority of people oppose what he's doing in Afghanistan.

The interesting thing I find about this is that all of this thing that people said he's putting all of this thought and decisiveness, he basically -- it took him 94 days to reach the same decision George Bush would have done. Exact same decision George Bush would have done probably in two days, or three days, or a week.


ROBERTS: It took him a long time to come to the surge.

DOWD: No, to the realization that the military generals wanted to do this, and that's what I think is his biggest problem, is the American public has flipped on this, and now he's basically going to be advocating a Bush policy that failed in the last administration.

ROBERTS: I think, though, in the interim, between the time that McChrystal asked for this and Tuesday, that there's been a lot of heat. They have used this period to put a lot of heat on Karzai's government. And also that election, that peculiar election was going on in the middle of all this. And then when that got solved, as oddly as it got solved, they then were in there in full force to try to say, look, you know, you want us to do this, but for us to do this, you have to do -- you have to improve.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is probably going to be what's most new in the president's strategy, Dan, on Tuesday. What else, as you look at it, because the president's going to have to argue that this is a brand new strategy, that he's gotten something for this. What else should we be looking for there?

SENOR: Whether or not he sets realistic expectations. The reality is, even with this troop deployment, summer of 2010 is going to look much worse in Afghanistan than summer of 2009. Casualties, American casualties will go way up. The reality is, the fighting season, the sort of kinetic fighting patterns by the Taliban are at their peak between March and November. So that means -- and by the way, they're doing a very slow timeline here. They're deploying about a brigade a quarter. I mean, the Iraq surge was a brigade a month. So you talk to the Iraqi commanders, they say one of the most powerful imports in the Iraq deployment was within five months, you had five brigades on the ground.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...