Pelosi and Gates Differ on Expectations for July 2011 Troop Withdrawal

"This Week" host Christiane Amanpour interviews Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

As July became the deadliest month in the almost nine-year-old war in Afghanistan, Christiane Amanpour sat down with two key players and asked them the hard questions about America's longest war.

In exclusive interviews on "This Week," Amanpour spoke with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who just passed a bill to fund the war, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who supervises the war effort.

Both Gates and Pelosi insisted that the war was in the strategic interest of the United States but differed on what they hoped the July 2011 troop withdrawal date might mean.


"We are not there to take on a nationwide reconstruction or construction project in Afghanistan. What we have to do is focus our efforts on those civilian aspects and governance to help us accomplish our security objective," Gates said. "We are in Afghanistan because we were attacked from Afghanistan, not because we want to try and build a better society in Afghanistan."

Pelosi emphasized our security interest there. "We're in Afghanistan because it's in our strategic national interests to be so for our own national security, to stop terrorism, to increase global security."

Gates: "Guilty" Verdict on Wikileaks' "Moral Culpability"

Gates said that the huge cache of secret documents obtained by the Web site WikiLeaks left him disgusted.

"How angry are you about it?" Amanpour asked.

"I'm not sure anger is the right word. I just -- I think mortified, appalled," Gates said.

"And if I'm angry, it is because I believe that this information puts those in Afghanistan who have helped us at risk. It puts our soldiers at risk because ... our adversaries can learn a lot about our techniques, tactics and procedures from the body of these leaked documents," he said.

"You know, growing up in the intelligence business, protecting your sources is sacrosanct," Gates, who served as director of the CIA in the early 1990s, explained.

Amanpour asked Gates about a Taliban spokesman who told a British news organization that the militant Islamic group would be hunting down informants named in the documents.

"I mean Admiral Mullen said that this leak basically has blood on its hands," Amanpour said.

"Well, I mean given the Taliban's statement, I think it -- it basically proves the point," the secretary said.

"And my attitude on this is that there are two areas of culpability. One is legal culpability. And that's up to the Justice Department and others. That's not my arena. But there's also a moral culpability. And that's where I think the verdict is guilty on WikiLeaks," Gates said.

"They have put this out without any regard whatsoever for the consequences"

Pelosi Dodges War Spending Question

Pelosi refused to say whether she would have voted for the war funding bill.

"Now you didn't vote. I know the speaker doesn't have to vote. But how would you have voted?" Amanpour asked Pelosi in the speaker's ceremonial office inside the Capitol.

"Well we brought the bill to the floor," Pelosi explained. "And that was a statement that said that we knew that our troops needed to have ... would be provided for them. So we will never abandon our men and women in uniform," she said. "On the other hand it gave our members a chance to express their view," the Speaker said.

"How does this figure into our protecting the American people? Is it worth it?" Pelosi asked rhetorically.

"Is it worth it?" Amanpour repeated pointedly. "Is it worth it?"

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