Transcript: Feinstein, Chambliss, McGovern, Keane

CHAMBLISS: I don't think there's any question but what (ph) that's right. And that's why you've got to approach this from a dual point of view. Number one, you've got to stop the violence. If you don't stop the violence, then, you know, we -- we can't hope for a healing to take place in Afghanistan and hope for the people to take over that government.

It is corrupt; there's no question about it. But we know, too, that if we don't prevail there, we have the opportunity for the bad guys to come in and have access to nuclear weapons next door. We can't afford for that to happen.

We know that there is a training opportunity for Al Qaida in Afghanistan if we're not there, as well as in Pakistan. We can't afford for that to happen.

So it's clear that, from a military standpoint, we've got to listen to the guys on the ground who have the opportunity and the know-how to make sure that those things don't happen.

One other component of this that we haven't given enough talk to, I think, is the civilian side. You have to remember that the Afghan people have a literacy rate of somewhere in the high teens or low 20s. That is -- there's no way for those people to develop any kind of economy. The economy in Iraq this year is going to be about $900 billion. The economy in Afghanistan, $900 million.

We've got to stop the violence, work towards influencing the -- the Afghan people to make sure they take their government back and develop an economy for the long term. That's going to take a while...


STEPHANOPOULOS: It's going to take a while. It's going to take a lot of money. But -- and you -- you do have to put a cost-benefit analysis on any decision like this. And this is something raised internally by Vice President Biden.

There's a report in Newsweek this morning -- it's actually on the cover of Newsweek, where the vice president is pointing out that this year we're going to spend about $65 billion in Afghanistan, about $2.25 billion in Pakistan. And according to the report in Newsweek, this is what the vice president went on to say in the National Security Council meeting: "By my calculations, that's a 30-to-1 ratio in favor of Afghanistan. So I have a question: Al Qaida is almost all in Pakistan, and Pakistan has nuclear weapons. And yet for every dollar we're spending in Pakistan, we're spending $30 in Afghanistan. Does that make strategic sense?"

What's the answer?

FEINSTEIN: Well, this whole situation is a bit of a conundrum. I basically agree with Senator Chambliss in what he said. I think reconciliation -- the first thing has to be to stop the violence. It has to be security. The Taliban has to know it cannot take over all of Afghanistan because the next step in Pakistan. And that's very serious.

And the Pakistanis are only recently beginning to show, I think, their mettle. I think Swat was a big wake-up call for them. I listened to the Pakistani foreign minister yesterday, and they -- they seemed to have much more get-up-and-go, to really be -- be able to work with us in securing some of the FATA areas and other -- other areas. So I think that -- that's really critical.

This is not an easy situation. Nothing is straightforward. Our allies have 39,000 troops. That's a lot of people over there. They, I gather, will continue their involvement on that level. I think we ought to press for them to increase it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's not going to happen.

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