'This Week' Transcript: Madeleine Albright, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Kent Conrad and David Cote


You've got two impediments. Modernization. Not only do we need a START Treaty; we need to modernize our nuclear force, the weapons that are left, to make sure they continue to be a deterrent. And we need to make sure that we can employ -- deploy missile defense systems that are apart from START.

So you've got two stumbling blocks, the modernization program and how missile defense works apart from the treaty.

AMANPOUR: Will you vote for it?

GRAHAM: Jon Kyl is -- in its current condition, no, but Jon Kyl is working with the administration to get better modernization to make sure that missile defense is not connected to START. If you could get those two things together, I would vote for the treaty.

I'd rather have a treaty than not have a treaty, but modernization and missile defense have to be better dealt with before we get there.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about some news today. You've just come back from Afghanistan and Iraq with a congressional delegation. And there's a story in the Washington Post about how President Karzai seems to be at odds fundamentally with U.S. policy there. Did that come up at all in your conversations with him?

GRAHAM: You know, Christiane, I'm just stunned. We had a great meeting. We had dinner with Senator McCain, Lieberman, myself, Petraeus, Ambassador Eikenberry with President Karzai. The focus of the article is the night raids.

We were briefed by our military commanders that the night raids are -- we own the night (ph) militarily, are making huge impact on the Taliban, the insurgency as a whole, and we're having Afghan partners. This didn't come up at all.

We talked about, quite frankly, looking long term with Afghanistan about having two air bases in a permanent fashion in Afghanistan to provide stability, so at the end of the day, there was no discussion about a difference between Petraeus and Karzai, in terms of strategy.

And I would just add this: If we cannot use night raids with our Afghan partners, then that's a big loss in terms of gaining security.

The Petraeus plan, the Petraeus strategy must be allowed to go forward for us to be successful. The security gains are -- are obvious. We're not there yet, but we're moving in the right direction, and to take the night raids off the table would be a disaster.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you quickly and briefly on this issue of Afghanistan, also. Was President Karzai -- or, rather, do you believe that the U.S. troops will stay in significant numbers post the summer 2011 deadline?

GRAHAM: Yes, I do. I think in summer of 2011, we can bring some troops home, but we're going to need a substantial number of troops in Afghanistan past that.

2014 is the right date to talk about. That's when Karzai suggests that Afghans will be in the lead, and I'm very pleased to hear President Obama talk about 2014.

What I want to talk about is winning, having the ability to stabilize Afghanistan and be a good partner with the United States forever. That means we're going to need military force for quite a while. Post-2014, when the Afghans hopefully get in the lead, it will be great to have a couple of air bases there in perpetuity to help the Afghans to send the right signal to the regions, but none of this is possible unless you have a reliable partner in the Afghan government, so they need to do more quickly on corruption.

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