Mitt Romney: The Complete Interview

It was under-planned, under-prepared, under-staffed, too low a level of troops, under-managed.

I mean, everyone has their own view. My own decision-making process is a very inclusive process. I like to get a lot of people with strong, divergent viewpoints, who will express their viewpoints openly, who will gather data, who come in not just saying what they believe, but lay out the data.

And on that basis, you find the pros and the cons, the upsides, the downsides, the risks and then you say, "What do we have to do to make sure that the risk doesn't happen?"

And in this case, the downside risk with the multiple ethnicities in Iraq suggested that bad things could happen, particularly given the borders, as well, as you needed a lot of troops there to keep those things from happening.

Stephanopoulos: But how do you explain why all that planning wasn't done? President Bush is Harvard MBA, too.

Mitt Romney: Well, everybody has their own management style and their own approach and I respect enormously the approach other people. Mine is just different.

And if you read "Cobra Two" and "Assassins Gate" and "Looming Tower" and some of the reports of the events leading up not only to 9/11, but to the conflict itself, there's a sense that we really weren't ready for the post major conflict period.

We really hadn't thought through the way we should have, in the way we thought through taking over Germany with the collapse of Hitler's government.

We had two years to plan for that. In this case, it was done on a hurried basis. Paul Bremer went in without all of the preparation he might have needed to make some of those critical decisions and, in some cases, decisions were made that I think weren't made as effectively as they should have been.

And that has resulted in a blossoming of the sectarian violence, of insurgents within the country and from without, and a setting which is a very troubled, difficult position.

Stephanopoulos: Yet, you support the president's decision to send more troops right now.

Mitt Romney: Yes.

Stephanopoulos: How much time do you give it to work?

Mitt Romney: Well, it's not years. I think you're going to know within months.

I had a very informative discussion with former Secretary Mel Laird, who was secretary of defense during the Vietnam days, and he described for me that as we were withdrawing from Vietnam, prior to Congress pulling the plug, that there had actually been a series of milestones and timetables and things we had to do, things they had to do, and they were moving according to those milestones.

I hope with the current administration and I expect that they have worked with al-Maliki's government to set a series of milestones and timetables, not for public consumption, but to say, "Let's make sure we're making progress." And if we do make progress, terrific. If we don't, then it's time to say it's not working.

Stephanopoulos: Mayor Giuliani said the other night he's not confident it's going to work. Are you?

Mitt Romney: Well, you know, I think it's hard to predict whether this troop surge will work, but I'm absolutely confident it's the right thing to do.

The idea of pulling out would leave the potential of the country or the alternative that Senator Biden and others talk about, dividing the country into multiple parts, they have new risks.

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