RADDATZ: Do you think the pressure's off somewhat for December? That it's shifted more to the spring? That -- that because you arrived just two and a half months ago. And -- and there was a little bit of a reset there. Because General McChrystal's departure, 'cause that — does in fact buy a little more time?
PETRAEUS: I think -- just -- I think time will tell, actually. I think we're going to -- have to see what we're able to achieve -- in the months -- that lie ahead. The months leading up to Lisbon. And then -- see where we go from there.
RADDATZ: Do you talk to General McChrystal?
PETRAEUS: I actually e-mail him. A fair amount. In fact, my wife was just out for dinner with his wife -- the other day. I've been very pleased to see that -- there really have been some wonderful opportunities -- made available to him. He's teaching a course in leadership -- at Yale. And I think that's terrific. I mean, it would have been better at Princeton. But again, I -- this is good. (LAUGH)
So, I -- I -- I -- I'm very pleased to see the transition that he has had, frankly. He is a great soldier. He's a great warrior. The nation is only now learning what he and his forces did to help us so significantly in Iraq. During the surge. And -- when I talked earlier about getting the inputs right. There's no one who played a more central role, more significant role in that process -- than did General Stan McChrystal.
RADDATZ: And just -- just finally here can we go back to the period -- because this is your strategy, too. This wasn't just Stan McChrystal's strategy. This is your strategy for Afghanistan. And what that was like during that period. Was there a lot of back and forth with the Administration on -- on what you wanted? What they wanted?
PETRAEUS: I actually thought the process was very, very good. I've stated this a number of times on the record in the past. I'm an old professor, I guess. An old academic. And I like the exchange of ideas. I think, by the way, President Obama revels in that, too. And -- and again he fostered that kind of discussion. He wanted to leave no stone unturned. No assumption unchallenged. No idea, you know, un -- beat at a couple of times. I mean, we've proved probably that, you know, you can look at these in a number of different ways.
And I think it was very, very useful. I think what came out of that were indeed more measured expectations. Were more realistic -- goals and objectives. You didn't hear anyone after that saying that we're trying to turn Afghanistan into Switzerland in three years or less. Again, I think it was -- again, very useful -- in -- perhaps a unique process. I'm not sure of another case in which a president devoted such a substantial amount of time.
I -- I think nine or ten meetings, some of which were as long as two and a half hours of all of the principles around the situation room table. General McChrystal in by video teleconference with Ambassador EIkenberry here -- from Kabul. The Pakistani Ambassador, the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan and so forth. So --
RADDATZ: Was it ever tense?
PETRAEUS: Well, I think these situations do have them. I mean, you want creative tension, if you will. You want a degree of intellectual friction. And again -- I -- I've always been quite comfortable with that. Actually—
RADDATZ: Yes, you have been.