Transcript: Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen

Mike Mullen

ABC'S "THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS" MAY 24, 2009 SPEAKERS: GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST ADM. MIKE MULLEN (USN), CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): Good morning, and welcome to THIS WEEK. On this Memorial Day weekend, our exclusive headliner, the military's top man.

MULLEN: I have actually been supportive of closing Guantanamo.

They want Afghanistan back. We can't let them or their al Qaeda cohorts have it.

That Iran getting a nuclear weapon is calamitous for the region and for the world.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, only on THIS WEEK.

Then...

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: In the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground and half measures keep you half exposed.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We must leave these methods where they belong, in the past. They are not who we are. And they are not America.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Who won the great debate? Who is next for the Supreme Court? That and the rest of the week's politics on our roundtable with George Will, Donna Brazile, David Brooks of The New York Times, and E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post.

And as always, the "Sunday Funnies."

JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Hey, President Obama has found a way to quickly close Guantanamo Bay. He's going to turn it into a Pontiac dealership. Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

ANNOUNCER: From the heart of the nation's capital, THIS WEEK with ABC News chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos, live from the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello, again, I hope you're enjoying this Memorial Day weekend. We're going to begin today with the president's top military adviser, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Welcome to THIS WEEK.

MULLEN: Thank you, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we have a lot to cover today, but I want to begin with the debate that really consumed Washington this week. Guantanamo Bay, whether to close it, how to close it, what to do with the detainees. Weigh in from the perspective of the U.S. military.

MULLEN: Well, I've advocating for a long time now that it needs to be closed. President Obama made a decision very early after his Inauguration to do that by next January. And we're all working very hard to meet that deadline.

It focuses on very difficult issues of what you do with the detainees who are there. There are some really bad people there. And so figuring out how we're going to keep them where they need to be, keep them off the battlefield, as well as close Gitmo itself is a real challenge.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about keeping them off the battlefield, because a report -- a Pentagon report was released this week -- or leaked this week that said about 14 percent of the Guantanamo detainees have gone back to the battlefield.

I'm trying to puzzle that out. Does that mean it was a mistake to let them go? Or that somehow they were radicalized inside Guantanamo? That something happened to them there?

MULLEN: Well, there has been an increasing number of those who have returned to the battlefield over the last year or two. There has been hundreds and hundreds who have actually been released both from Guantanamo over time as well as other detention facilities in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

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