'This Week' Full Transcript: Dec. 6, 2009

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, THEN SENATOR: Are there any circumstances that you can articulate in which we would say to the Maliki government that enough is enough, and we are no longer committing our troops.


STEPHANOPOULOS: A lot of people asking the same exact question today about President Karzai, at what point do we say enough is enough, we're no longer going to commit troops?

CLINTON: Well, George, I understand the desire to ask these questions which are all thrown into the future, they're obviously matters of concern about how we have a good partner as we move forward in Afghanistan.

But I think you have to look at what President Karzai said in his inaugural speech where he said that Afghan security forces would begin to take responsibility for important parts of the country within three years, and that they would be responsible for everything within five years.

And from our perspective, we think we have a strategy that is a good, integrated approach, it's civilian and military. It has been extremely thoroughly analyzed. But we have to begin to implement it with the kind of commitment that we all feel toward it.

I can't predict everything that is going to happen with President Karzai. I came away from my meeting with him around the inauguration heartened by a lot of what he was saying. But you know, the proof is in the pudding. We're going to have to wait to see how it unfolds.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But if you're really going to have maximum leverage, doesn't he have to know that if he doesn't live up to the commitment, we're going to go?

CLINTON: Well, I think he knows that we have a commitment to trying to protect our national security. That's why we're there. We do want to assist the people of Afghanistan and to try to improve the capacity of the Afghan government.

But I think it's important to stress that this decision was based on what we believe is best for the United States. And we have to have a realistic view of who we're working with in Afghanistan, and it's not only President Karzai, it's ministers of various agencies that -- some of which are doing quite well and producing good results, provincial and local leaders.

So it's a much more complicated set of players than just one person.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There is also the question of Pakistan, the neighbor, and whether they're living up to their commitments. You got in a little hot water in Pakistan when you suggested that they hadn't been doing enough in the past to go after the Taliban.

And, Secretary Gates, let me turn a question about this to you, it's connected to a report that Senator Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released this week about Osama bin Laden. He suggested that the failure to block his exit from Tora Bora has made the situation there much worse.

In this report, he actually wrote that the decisions that opened the door for his escape to Pakistan allowed bin Laden to emerge as a potent symbolic figure who continues to attract a steady flow of money and inspire fanatics worldwide.

The Pakistani prime minister sort of shrugged off any concerns about that this week, about whether or not he had gone -- done enough to go after Osama bin Laden. He said he doesn't believe Osama is in Pakistan. Is he right? And do you think the Pakistanis have done enough to get him?

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...