'This Week' Transcript: Odierno and Chiarelli

PACKER: Yes, it's a bit much. I mean, no one was for the surge. The surge had the support of a tiny group of people in Washington. Basically, the White House and its close allies, and the people in the military. And it stabilized Iraq, along with political developments inside that country. Let's not forget that there was the Sunni awakening. There was Muqtada Al-Sadr's decision to stand down his Shiite militias. So all of those things, the surge took advantage of. It has stabilized. But let's not exaggerate what kind of Iraq we're going to be leaving as we leave in the next year and a half. I mean, we spent $10 billion on that country's electrical system. How many hours a day are there of electricity in Baghdad now? Five hours a day. It's better than it was three years ago; it's still a pretty intolerable level of daily life and violence for ordinary Iraqis.

TETT: And let's not underestimate the costs to the American people. I mean, we are seeing not just the financial costs. It's a human cost too, and I imagine that questions about that actually (ph) are going to keep mounting as we go forward not just in Iraq but Afghanistan as well.

AMANPOUR: Michael?

GERSON: And the next stage is complicated. I mean, we are -- our combat troops are leaving, but the political process is a difficult one, as you discussed earlier. The United States approach has been pretty hands-off. But if a government doesn't form after Ramadan, I think there is going to be a big argument over whether the United States is going to need to use a lot more leverage in this circumstance to try to get a good outcome and not convey that we're cutting and running, that we are no longer interested in Iraq. I think that would be a real mistake.

AMANPOUR: And as we turn to the economy, which is obviously a huge, huge issue for the American people and, of course, people around the world, let's just put up this statistic that has come out this week, that there was a loss of 131,000 jobs, although private-sector jobs rose by 71,000. That's according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate remains pretty much the same at 9.5 percent, and there are 14.6 million Americans looking for work.

What to say beyond throwing up one's hands? What can be done?

TETT: Well, they're shocking numbers. And I think it's important to realize that what it illustrates is that the president, right now, is at a pretty important juncture point. For the last year, we have had some growth in the American economy, but much of that has been due to government aid, government spending, or what economists call an inventory rebuild. Basically, companies and shops ran down the stocks back in late 2008. They rebuilt them, but that process is kind of finished. And the big question now is, can the economy keep growing if the government doesn't keep pumping in money?

AMANPOUR: The secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner, went out earlier this week to talk a lot about the economy and pumping it up. There was an op-ed that he actually penned for the New York Times, and I believe the title was "Welcome to the Recovery." Is that something that he would have liked to have seen as an op-ed title?

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