'This Week' Transcript: Pelosi and Gates

BRAZILE: Well, it put the Afghanistan war back on the front page, the longest war in United States' history. Voters are weary of this war right now. Congress is -- is worried about the funding, the strategy.

I think this will give the administration an opportunity to once again talk about the mission, before December, when the president has announced that he intends to reassess what they're doing.

I also think it raises a serious question about Pakistan's involvement with the Taliban and also whether or not Mr. Karzai is still up to the job of bringing the government together, reinforcing the police and the army. It raises a serious question about going forward and the timetable.

KRUGMAN: You know, when I look at this, people say, you know, we can't abandon Afghanistan, all that. I'm surprised that people aren't pointing out that basically the decision to abandon Afghanistan was taken eight years ago, right? Eight years ago, when the Taliban was on the run, when it might have been possible to really use the momentum to change this, that's when the Bush administration pulled the troops out of Afghanistan, pulled the resources away, because they wanted to invade Iraq instead.

And now you're asking us to -- you're asking Obama to recover from a situation where we've spent eight years losing credibility.

AMANPOUR: But the thing is, he is trying to recover. He's had this big strategy. He's made a surge in Afghanistan. And right now, for instance, Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard has written a memo to President Obama, basically saying rescind the 2011 -- the 2011 deadline. What do you think has to happen to make this war winnable for the United States?

WILL: Well, first of all, in his remarks to you, Secretary Gates semi-rescinded it, by saying that, in fact, what comes in July '11 -- 2011 is fairly limited numbers of withdrawal. That's making it a fairly elastic deadline.

But look what -- and our friend in Madrid can comment on this. Secretary Gates said to you today, our purpose is to degrade the Taliban to a degree where they are willing to consider reconciliation on the terms of the Afghan government. Now, that, A, sounds like surrender, and, B, the normal Afghan would say, "Give me a third choice, because I don't like the Afghan government, either."

AMANPOUR: Right. Ahmed Rashid, how did you read that, that the Taliban is expected to surrender or come into a reconciliation on the terms of the Karzai government?

RASHID: Well, I think this is going to be the very big debate that takes place within the Obama administration come December, when the policy review takes place, because the other position to this is that, in fact, the U.S. should start talks with the Taliban as soon as possible, and that will then trigger up much better attempts to try and bring about a regional cohesion, a regional alliance to support those talks.

The Taliban, with all their interlocutors that they've been talking to so far, have made it clear that they want to talk to the Americans directly. Now, any such talks can't be based on conditions set by America, as Gates has just done. They would have to be free and open talks, and they would have to continue for some time.

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