Ret. Gen. David Petraeus: 'We're all fair game' for criticism

Former CIA Director David Petraeus joins "This Week."
7:14 | 10/22/17

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Transcript for Ret. Gen. David Petraeus: 'We're all fair game' for criticism
And let's turn now to another retired four star general and former CIA director David Petraeus good morning general betray scripts seen here this morning to be with you mark I wanna start with what the White House said about it being highly inappropriate to debate. A four star general. Well I think we're all fair game and I certainly experienced lots of that and testimony on Capitol Hill during the surge and a rock and subsequent endeavors in. Afghanistan's central command and so forth. We in uniform. Protect the rights of others to criticize us frankly I remember opening the New York Times in the morning of the big testimony on the surge at the six month mark. And there was a full page ads attacking me personally. I didn't appreciate it needless to say I remember I had it said general betray yes. But it the end of the day we year. Fiercely protective of the rights of our Americans to express themselves and even if that includes criticizing us. And in General Petraeus you you saw the emotional response that John Kelly had about it. The gold star family and the call the president made but he also had very harsh words about congress woman Wilson. Is that appropriate especially given it was wrong. Close obviously an unfortunate situation we need to unite behind our gold star families to embrace them with compassion and with support. Not to drag them into partisan politics. Sadly this is a bit symptomatic of what I think is afflicting our country right now arguably the most important threaten the United States faces is not that Russia Iran and North Korea or even. Chinese competition or oasis. It's parochial ism here at home especially in this city which is preventing us. From resolving issues that could allow us to capitalize on extraordinary opportunities as America is leading the world. In the IT revolution energy revolution manufacturing life sciences. We need to re learn. The word of compromise we need to take the volume down. But look I know John Kelly very very well he was a tremendous division commander to store commander of the marine forces in on bar province during the second half of the surge. Served with and subsequently in other positions. I have to think that this weekend he's sitting at homer and in the White House trying to figure out how to. Turned down volume how to get. This behind us and how to focus on what really. Is important in the country overall but but you can also read this pick I wanna go back to that he he didn't do that this week and he has been seen as you say. As his voice of reason in the White House but did he lose some of that authority by joining this political fight. Again my hope is that the John Kelly that we all know and respect enormously whose family obviously. Experienced. That personal loss of a service member of their son the the last full measure of devotion us Abraham Lincoln termed it went through that and again I just have to think that he is thinking how can we. Turn down the volume how can we move forward and how can we focus the administration and the country. On the issues that are preventing us from capitalizing on extraordinary opportunities I also want to get your reaction to what admiral Mike Mullen the former chairman of the joint chiefs said. Earlier this month. I'm increasingly. Concerned. About the dependence. The American people on Jim mass HR McMaster John Kelly and Rex Stores. I have been in too many countries. Globally. Where that gen rolls if you well Dave great comfort to their citizens. That is not the United States of America. Do you have an innocent concerns. Well I know the mall obviously has goes are great former chairman of the joint chiefs admiral Malone for it was a promotion to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. And if you're going to have to depend on some people these are some pretty great people I think that the administration has a superb national security team arguably among the best in recent memory. And by and large they are guiding. A policy that is really more continuity. Then change in a number of areas although certainly there are changes in areas such as tax. Trade climate and so on. But this is a superb team and it's a team that has helped guide the defeat of the Islamic state in a rock and in Syria. That is made the right call that president approving on Afghanistan and I believe. That is seeking to get China's attention to deal with the North Korean situation in a way that is ever more pressing. So again this is a superb group of individuals are not all military obviously secretary Tillerson the US. You know general Janet drifts. Earlier it the share in June at the Aspen ideas festival view you kind of dodged a question saying that the team is important dodged a question about whether president trump was fit for office saying it was immaterial because of the team immaterial. Look I. I felt it was inappropriate for a former general to be judging whether someone who is elected by the American people is fit or not he's our president. And what we need to do as a country is. Try to support those who are supporting him. So that we can indeed continue this economic growth that we've had so that we can shore up our national defenses so we've come to grips with issues like immigration reform infrastructure investment. Tax reform and all the rest. An anti and I do want to talk about me share and what happened they're given they were ambushed was this an intelligence failures some on the Hitler's thing. Well we don't know obviously and that's why there's a team out there from the Department of Defense which include some FBI investigators as I understand it. And we'll have to wait to see what they find out before independent judgment at and you saw the follow vices in the stronghold of Rocca. In Syria at this week what does that tell you about where we are obviously that's at bats a success. But that went. Well it's a very important success is as I mentioned last time we are together. The sooner the nicest could be shown to be a loser is the sooner than is no longer as effective it is noon in recruiting and proselytizing. And encouraging and inspiring and so forth and that is now. Very much the case clustered media center and raucous now. Obviously been destroyed as well. But as I also said the battle that matters most as the battle after the battle it's what happens after the Islamic states defeated we're already seeing that. In a rock this is the battle over and over power and re sources. In countries that have a lot of resources particularly in the case of Iraq. And what you've seen there is right after the defeat of the Islamic state. In an area around Kerr cook. Because of an ill timed referendum. The pressure on the prime minister a body to keep going. And to reclaim areas from. The Kurdish fish murder. That had been occupied. When Iraqi forces evacuated them in the wake of crisis.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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