Transcript: Feinstein, Chambliss, McGovern, Keane

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let's -- let's get into that, and I want to bring General Keane in on that, because you were very involved in the -- in the surge in Iraq. But there are differences, as well. As unstable as the Iraqi government was, it did have -- the Iraqis did have a history of having a strong central government, number one. Number two, the surge, as far as I understood it, led you to a situation where you had about one American soldier for every 100 or 125 Iraqi civilians. Here, even if you approve General McChrystal's 40,000, you're going to be at a 1-to-200 ratio.

So even if you approve this, will there be enough for a full counterinsurgency strategy, as Senator Feinstein was talking about?

KEANE: Well, first of all, you don't have to do the counterinsurgency strategy in the entire country. The south is really the center of gravity of the Pashtun insurgency and also in the east. So there are areas where we can focus.

The problem we have is, we know what the defeat mechanism ultimately is. It is the Afghan national security forces, just as it has been in Iraq, with the Iraqi security forces.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They have to take the lead.

KEANE: They eventually will come in full play. The problem is, they're too small, George. Right now, we only have about 200,000, and -- and most who look at this, to include the generals, believe we need about 400,000. If that's the case, we can't get there until 2013, 2012 at the earliest.

In the meantime, to put the counterinsurgency strategy in play, we need the additional U.S. forces. That's -- that's why this issue now is so pregnant, in terms of timing, because we cannot wait for that strategy to take hold.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me -- let me bring that question to Congressman McGovern. You and 99 other members of Congress have called now for an exit strategy, want that exit strategy by the end of this year. Does that mean that you can't accept more troops now as a component of an exit strategy later, if, indeed, the final exit strategy means you need Afghan forces built up?

KEANE: Well, I think adding more -- more American forces to -- to Afghanistan would be a mistake. I think it would be counterproductive. And I think there's a strong case to be made that the larger our military footprint, the more difficult it is to achieve reconciliation. And, quite frankly, it's been used as a recruiting tool by the Taliban.

The reason why we want an exit strategy is in part because I want a clearly defined mission, and that means a beginning, a middle, a transition period, and an end. And we don't have an end in Afghanistan.

When I voted to use force to go to war after 9/11, I think I and everyone else in Congress voted to go after Al Qaida. That was our enemy. And Al Qaida has now moved to a different neighborhood, in Pakistan, where, quite frankly, they're more protected. And we're told by General Jones that there are less than 100, if that, members of Al Qaida left in Afghanistan.

So we're going to need to -- so we're -- we're now saying we should have 100,000 American forces to go after less than 100 members of Al Qaida in Afghanistan? I think we need to re-evaluate our policy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That leads to -- that leads to a key question that I know the White House was debating, actually, this week. In order to defeat Al Qaida, do you need to completely defeat the Taliban or can you learn to live with the Taliban?

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