CLINTON: Well, George, you're right. I can't and wouldn't comment on the confidential advice that anyone has provided to the President during his deliberations. But the argument that you've just described is one that a number of people have made in the press and in arguments that have certainly been made known to me, to the President and others. We agree that our goal here is to defeat al-Qaeda. That has been a clear goal and a mission from the President ever since he made his commitment of additional troops back in the spring. And we understand that the Afghans themselves need help in order to defend themselves against the Taliban. Those are mutually reinforcing missions but our highest obligation is to the American people. It is to do everything we can to make sure that America is secure, that our allies, our interests around the world are protected. And that is what we're focused on. Now we believe that President Karzai and his government can do better. We've delivered that message. Now that the election is finally over we're looking to see tangible evidence that the government, led by the president but going all the way down to the local level, will be more responsive to the needs of the people, will deliver the services that the people of Afghanistan want, who do not want to return to the Taliban, but they want a government that actually can function on their behalf. And that together we and our allies in the international community will help them to build a security force that can take care of their security going forward.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But President Karzai does seem to be ignoring some of our concerns. He's surrounded by a Vice President Marshal Fahim whose been accused of corruption. He's allied with General Dostum, a warlord, whose been accused of massacres in the past. What kind of concrete steps must President Karzai take to prove sending more troops is not a waste of American lives and American money?
CLINTON: I have made it clear that we're not going to be providing any civilian aid to Afghanistan unless we have a certification that if it goes into the Afghan government in any form, that we're going to have ministries that we can hold accountable. We are expecting there to be a major crimes tribunal, an anti-corruption commission established and functioning because there does have to be actions by the government of Afghanistan against those who have taken advantage of the money that has poured into Afghanistan in the last eight years so that we can better track it and we can have actions taken that demonstrate there's no impunity for those who are corrupt.
So we're going to be doing what we can to create an atmosphere in which the blood and treasure that the United States has committed to Afghanistan can be justified and can produce the kind of results that we're looking for.
But we have no illusions. This is not the prior days when people would come on your show and talk about how we were going to help the Afghans build a modern democracy and build a more functioning state and do all these wonderful things. That could happen but our primary focus is on the security of the United States of America. How do we protect and defend against future attacks. We do not want to see Afghanistan return to being a safe haven and a staging platform for terrorism as it was before. That is what is driving the President to make the best decision he can make.