Transcript: Sec. Gates and Sen. McCain

Secondly, in Iraq, you had a free and fair election. People like Maliki, don't like Maliki, he was strong or weak, but no one actually disputed his legitimacy.

Third, in Iraq, the political class there has decided more or less to resolve their differences politically.

And, lastly, as Bob pointed out, we were talking before the show, Iraq has a lot of money, OK? So you can pave over a lot of differences. So when people say, "The surge worked in Iraq, it'll work in Afghanistan," I say, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, let's look closely at the differences."

RADDATZ: But -- but I think General McChrystal has looked closely at the differences. And one thing I want to point out is this is no longer the McChrystal assessment. This is the assessment that David Petraeus, as you pointed out, and Admiral Mullen have all joined in. There may not be a repeat of history in Iraq, but John Nagl, who helped write the counterinsurgency manual, says there might be a rhyme, not a repeat, but a rhyme. And there are things that they can apply in Iraq that they -- that they did apply in Iraq that they can apply in Afghanistan. But one of the things they're doing here, George, is they're not talking about the troops. I mean, in Vietnam, they didn't really talk about those troop increases. They didn't really let the public know about those troop increases.

Anybody want to take a guess at how many troops we have in Iraq right now still? A hundred and forty-six thousand. And you also have to figure into that number, there are about 160,000 contractors. Now, the numbers they're talking about in Afghanistan are probably, the most, 40,000. But still, as Secretary Gates points out, in the last year, the troops have already...

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that brings up -- another way this rhymes with the Iraq debate, George, is that you see General Casey, General George Casey, the Army chief of staff, raising these concerns that General Krulak raised to you. Do we have the Army that we need to fight the war in the way that General McChrystal and others want to?

WILL: Well, that's the problem. Secretary Gates just said to you that what he wants to provide -- we want to provide in Afghanistan is an environment of security. That's a troop-intensive strategy. It's not hunting terrorists. It's counterinsurgency.

We're coming up on an anniversary, George. In 10 days, on October 7th, we will enter the ninth year of this war. If it isn't already -- it depends on how you count these things -- it will soon be the longest war in American history, and it's taking a toll.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It is taking a toll, but...

RADDATZ: And nine years -- actually, that's very key, George, because nine years -- and General Casey, I remember, said this on the Hill -- nine years is what -- when you can be successful. By 13, you're usually not successful in a counterinsurgency.

WOODWARD: But -- and we're talking about Vietnam and Iraq and so forth. This is Afghanistan. And the decider here is President Obama. And I'm -- and I'm going to disagree a little bit about where his gut is, because certainly no president wants another Vietnam, to say the least, or anything that resembles it. At the same time, as Martha points out quite rightly, the military has lined up and said, "This is what we want." And the value of the -- having all of the detail of the McChrystal assessment...

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