'This Week' Transcript: Gen. Jim Jones (Ret.)

this week

AMANPOUR: This week -- furious mobs kill more western civilians in Afghanistan. And as the death toll mounts, the Florida pastor who started it by burning a Koran says that he has no regrets.


TERRY JONES: We do not feel responsible, no.


AMANPOUR: Our correspondent is with American soldiers in the deadliest firefight against the Taliban in months.

Then in Libya, despite U.S. and NATO bombing runs meant to save them, rebels are in retreat from Gadhafi's forces. Is America in a battle it can't win? Three wars and billions of dollars later, we'll discuss all of this with the president's former national security adviser in his first interview since leaving the White House.

Also, who will pay for it all?

The jobs picture is getting brighter. But could rising prices, revolution, and a nuclear disaster kill the recovery? And as partisan bickering meets the bloated budget, will the government shut down later this week?


REP. MIKE PENCE R-IND.: I say, shut it down.


AMANPOUR: Two top senators join us for a This Week debate.

ANNOUNCER: Live from the Newseum in Washington, This Week starts right now.

AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program. Right now, the Middle East is falling further into chaos, violence and uncertainty as the United States grapples with fresh challenges in two of its three wars. President Obama, who ran as the anti-war candidate, now finds himself struggling to defend new American military action overseas, while the rapidly changing situations in Libya, Afghanistan, and across the Middle East pose new threats to U.S. security and credibility.

I'll be talking to my colleagues Mike Boettcher and Nick Schifrin in Afghanistan, and Jeffrey Kaufman and Alex Marquardt on the front lines in Libya.

Let's turn first to Afghanistan, where a firefight along the Pakistan border brought one of the deadliest days for American troops in months, and where the battle for hearts and minds may have been virtually erased overnight at the hands of a fringe pastor in Florida.

After months of threatening to burn a copy of the Koran, Pastor Terry Jones and his handful of followers finally did just that. This deliberately provocative act received little media attention here in the United States, but it did spread like wildfire online. And within days, protests in Afghanistan turned deadly.

ABC's Mike Boettcher is embedded with the 101st Airborne Division. Mike was the lone reporter on that bloody six-day offensive along the border.

Mike, how bad was that?

MIKE BOETTCHER, ABC CORRESPONDENT: In 30 years of covering war, I have never seen such withering fire. And soldiers who have been deployed four or five times will tell you the same thing.

A high price was paid. Six U.S. soldiers were killed. Six were wounded. Two Afghan national army were killed. And seven Afghans were wounded in this battle, and the battle continues as we speak, right now.

This is a significant engagement because it marks a turning point or a change in strategy along the Pakistan border where bases have been closed in recent months, small combat outposts. The U.S. now says that they're taking a more mobile strategy, going to areas they haven't been before, and going after the Taliban. They're going to carry this through, through the spring and summer and expect to see very heavy fighting in the east part of the country in the coming year. Christiane?

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