Transcript: Newt Gingrich and Howard Dean

The American people, I think, have been under the impression that Afghanistan and Iraq are sort of quiet and sort of secondary at this point, but I think it's coming back in a big way. It's come back in Britain where they've taken some real losses in people, and it's a front page story now, Afghanistan.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And the losses -- the American losses are going up, as well.

ROBERTS: Polling...

NOONAN: Absolutely.

ROBERTS: The polling is showing people very concerned about Afghanistan.

DONALDSON: There are bombings in Iraq every day.

NOONAN: You can see it in normal human conversation now. People are really starting to talk about it.

DONALDSON: They lose 50, 75 people every day.

NOONAN: So it's going to shape part of our future. Obama does own it now, in part because he took it on himself to implant his face on the age.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now that he owns it, what does he do?


NOONAN: He owns everything.

HAASS: Well, what he's going to do is what you've suggested. This has, as you said, become not just his war, it's his war of choice. We didn't have to go this way. He's decided to increase our force levels. He's going to increase them more gradually in order, as he put several months ago, to take the fight to the Taliban.

The United States has essentially become a party to Afghanistan's civil war. We're going to try to push them back out of Afghanistan into Pakistan. What we're going to try to do is continue to use this time to build up the Afghan police and military forces. The real question, quite honestly, is whether we -- that can go fast enough.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But can I stop you there? You said, Richard, we're going to push them out of Afghanistan into Pakistan. But aren't we even more worried about Pakistan in some ways than Afghanistan, because they have nuclear weapons?

HAASS: Pakistan is far more important, but there at least you have some state capacity, which, though, again, we're -- we're -- we're building it up. The whole idea is to buy time in Afghanistan to build up police and military forces so the Afghans can eventually -- essentially fight their own civil war.

And to me, the real question is whether American patience, how that compares with the ability of the Afghans to build up. I think the jury's out on that; that's the real risk.

ROBERTS: Particularly since what we're -- when you're talking about sending in more troops, what you're talking about is sending the same people who have already been in Iraq back again for another deployment.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, exactly. McChrystal actually wants the most experienced soldiers.

ROBERTS: And so -- so, you know, these families are really feeling it, because this is yet another lengthy deployment.


NOONAN: ... U.S. Army War College recently, and the biggest thing I came away with, being surrounded by young colonels and guys on their way to being general, is that they are being exhausted...


NOONAN: ... by their third and fourth and fifth tour in that part of the world.

ROBERTS: That's right.

NOONAN: And it's hurting their families.

DONALDSON: But General McChrystal wants more soldiers.

NOONAN: Their kids are growing up without dads.


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