'This Week' Transcript: Odierno and Chiarelli

Now, for the vacuum as we see today, again, I remind everyone is that we still have a significant presence here, and we are not going to -- we will not allow undue maligned influence on the Iraqi government as they attempt to form their government. What we're trying to do is provide them the space and time for them to do that, and we will continue to do that post 1 September. We'll still have a significant civilian presence, and again, we'll still have 50,000 troops on the ground here to ensure that this government can be formed by the Iraqis. And that all the other nations respect their sovereignty as they go about forming their government.

AMANPOUR: What gives you the most concern right now? You are obviously speaking with great confidence about the Iraqi forces that you've been able to stand up. I think it's somewhere over 125,000 Iraqi forces since the surge. What gives you the most concern at the moment as you approach that August 31st date?

ODIERNO: I think I would just say it's not the security profile. Obviously I believe there will be people who attempt to take advantage of the opportunity of the attention being brought upon the August 31st date. And so, there will be groups who will try to take advantage and show weakness in the government of Iraq and try to create some sort of lack of confidence of the people in the process as you move forward. So that's probably my first concern. But I believe we can overcome that concern.

The second is, is that the Iraqis have to understand the importance of forming a government, doing it as quickly as possible, and getting themselves ready to leap forward so they can make progress on the economic front and the diplomatic front. And they've got to set themselves up for that, so it's important for the Iraqis to understand the importance of moving forward quickly, and I think we're starting to see that as we see negotiations pick up over the last couple of weeks.

AMANPOUR: OK, and final question -- do you think U.S. diplomats have done enough to push the political parties together?

ODIERNO: I think it's a very fine line here, Christiane. What we want is we want to have the Iraqis form their own government. What we try to do here is facilitate that process, and I think that we behind the scenes have tried to facilitate the process without being directive in who should do what. And I think we've done a pretty fair job of that. And I think as time goes on, we'll try to facilitate it a bit harder to get them to move forward a bit quicker.

AMANPOUR: Thank you very much, General Odierno. Thanks for joining us.

ODIERNO: OK, thank you very much. It was good to be with you today.

AMANPOUR: General Chiarelli, thank you very much for joining us on THIS WEEK.

CHIARELLI: Well, it's great to be here.

AMANPOUR: One of the most extraordinary lines that I think I took away from the entire report was when it says, simply stated, we are often more dangerous to ourselves than the enemy. That is pretty stark.

CHIARELLI: Well, we have an army that's, for almost a decade, has been going very, very hard with our operational tempo; having our soldiers deployed for 12 months, home anywhere from 12 to 16 months, and back for another 12 or 15-month deployment.

AMANPOUR: It's too much.

CHIARELLI: Well -- and during that time, we've seen an increase with some soldiers, a very small number of soldiers, of high-risk behavior.

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