'This Week' Transcript: Pelosi and Gates

RASHID: Well, I hope that, you know, these -- a lot of these leaks are quite old, and people have moved on. A lot of the names may be false names. I hope we're not going to see bodies, but certainly this is something -- the Taliban are extremely good at following debates in the West, the Western media, debates in parliaments in Europe, in the Congress. They will have seen this new vote just now, where so many of the Democrats seem to be voting against the war.

They are expert now at following up. And if there are people to be followed up upon, they will do so.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me put that to Donna Brazile and to Paul Krugman. The idea that they are really smart, they read the Western press, they have a very highly sophisticated, whether we like to think that or not, media operation.

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?

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