Now the question is, is the task too hard, does he have all the tools he needs, does he have the time? He tells people privately if he shows some measurable progress, he can put more time on the clock. You listen to Obama in this firm, you know, we need a plan, we're going to have a plan to hand off and get out of Afghanistan, there's a different view there. And so we're going to find out in the coming months and year where that lands.
SAWYER: What else about Petraeus? What would surprise us about him?
WOODWARD: That he -- he's very, as you know, with the media. He has his own message machine, which he controls. He realizes that that's important. He has this success or apparent success in Iraq with the counterinsurgency strategy, which is protect the people.
As I report in the book, he wakes up at night and worries that maybe he's the victim of his own success. And one of the questions he is asking and asking all of his people, how does the Iraq model apply to Afghanistan? Some places it does, some places it doesn't.
There's a scene in which he's written a memo, Petraeus, to the president. He hands it out and Admiral Mullen, the chairman, hasn't seen it and he passes a message to Petraeus, said, I haven't seen this. Petraeus, literally, before the president of the United States, in the situation room, Petraeus says, can I have the homework back? And they all hand it in.
And it's a discussion about how much of the reconciliation model in Iraq applies to Afghanistan, and one of the points he makes in this memo is that you need a nuanced understanding of what's going on in each tribe, in each group in Afghanistan.
And General Petraeus' favorite intelligence officer is a man named Derek Harvey, who is kind of like a homicide detective, and he put him on the case in Afghanistan with hundreds of people. And early on, Derek Harvey tells General Petraeus, we don't know what's going on, it's the blind leading the blind.
SAWYER: Well, you do paint a portrait when the president comes in of a place on pause, no strategy for Yemen, no strategy for Somalia, no real strategy for dealing with a nuclear Iran, Afghanistan adrift in mission creep. What are you saying about the Bush administration?
WOODWARD: One of the real surprises is that the Obama people found that President Bush lost his appetite for contingency planning in places Iran and some of those countries you mentioned and that they actually had to develop and expand and make all of these contingency plans more up to date.
SAWYER: And a stack of requests from the military unanswered, unfulfilled. You also -- this is just a small thing, but you talk more about the role of the Saudis than I had seen before. It approaching the Taliban in Queta, in dealing with the Iranians.
WOODWARD: There's a secret channel that the Saudis have with the Taliban, and it's not really delivered much so far.
SAWYER: Some other portraits here -- Karzai. Karzai, what they are saying about President Karzai, that's he's bipolar, that he's off his meds?
WOODWARD: This is -- see, we -- we wonder why this unreliable partner and of you go into the intelligence as I had about Karzai, it turns out he's a diagnosed manic depressive, he's on medication --
SAWYER: You believe this?