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


AMANPOUR: But what is -- how does one accomplish that?

JONES: The strategic question is, what do you do when Gadhafi goes? Because we don't know exactly who the opposition is, yet.

AMANPOUR: But before that, how do you get Gadhafi to go?

JONES: Well, that's the part that is being working on. And I think...

AMANPOUR: Do you know?

JONES: I don't know. I don't know. I don't know the answer to that. But I do know that that is the wish and the goal of this entire effort.

AMANPOUR: You mentioned, who are these rebels? It's a question everybody wants to know.

JONES: Opposition.

AMANPOUR: Opposition rebels...

JONES: You can call them whatever you want.

AMANPOUR: Whoever they are, freedom fighters. But the world has now taken their side. Who are they? Do you know? JONES: Well, I don't -- I personally do not know. And I know that there is tremendous effort going on in many capitals around the world to make sure that we do understand what that is.

AMANPOUR: When you see these rebels, as Alex Marquardt said and we've been reporting, unable to capitalize on the no-fly zone, what has to be done to help them? Should they be armed? Should they be trained?

JONES: Well, I think the first thing that has to be done is to find out who these -- who they are. And so if you start from the proposition that our reason for committing our forces, as Americans or as part of NATO, was basically to avoid a massacre of innocent civilians, which probably would have happened, and now we're there, and now we have to do -- now we have to take the rest -- follow the rest of the trail to identify these people, then decide, you know, whether that's meritorious or not in terms of training, organizing, equipping.

The United States has not done that yet.

AMANPOUR: Isn't it troubling that we don't know who they are and what their goals and aspirations are?

JONES: Well, it's a pop-up mission that came very quickly. It metastasized to the point where 700,000 people were going to be threatened. And, you know, I wish -- in all of these things, we always want it to be clear, we want nice end-state rules. But the fog of war doesn't sometimes allow for that.

And so now we are putting this together, I think, from what I can see, we're doing the things that have to be done before we decide -- before the coalition decides, the U.N. decides exactly what to do next.

AMANPOUR: Let's just quickly turn to Yemen, a major American ally. If Saleh falls, how bad is that for the fight against al Qaeda -- if the president of Yemen falls?

JONES: Well, I think that's -- I think Yemen is very worrisome. This is a -- Saleh has been very skillful over the years in being able to consolidate and maintain his power. The trends in Yemen are not good. And this could be a major problem. And where terror is concerned, this would be a safe haven that would be a very troubling turn of events for us.

AMANPOUR: So is the U.S. to try to keep Saleh in power or what?

JONES: Well, I don't know -- you know, there are certain things that we can do and that we can't do. When events reach a certain stage, they have a life of their own. And it would be nice to be able to think that we could do everything and make the world, you know, perfect the way we want it. But that's not the case.

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