SAWYER: But you're absolutely confident that you have done nothing -- nothing that endangers American strategies, endangers American troops, endangers America's approach to the war?
WOODWARD: I am, because I've gone to the experts and the intel people and the other people and said, "This is what I'm going to use." And I'll -- and they weren't happy with some of it. I say, "I'm going to draw the line here."
And, you know, it's -- it's -- it's a green light. I think I should tell you -- and there's one thing I found out about that they asked me not to publish. And I asked, where would it be on the Richter scale, from zero to 10? And one of the top people said a nine. And it's not in the book.
SAWYER: You said that, at the end of the day, you conclude President Obama is a reluctant warrior.
WOODWARD: Now, I'm not saying -- I don't say he's a reluctant warrior. I've -- what he did when I talked to him -- it's fascinating. He -- I said, well, war, you know? Because his famous Iraq speech, he said, well, in -- if there's an Iraq war -- because this was before the invasion -- he said you go into a world of undetermined costs, consequence and time.
And I asked -- said, well, all war's like that, and he jumped on it. He said it sure is. And he quoted General Sherman from the Civil War. He said, "War is hell."
And he went on -- and you listened to him on this, and you realize -- he said his job is to impose clarity on the chaos. And I showed him a quote from a book from a Post colleague about World War II, about how war corrupts everyone, no heart goes unstained, showed it to him. And he read it, and he said, "I'm sympathetic to this view. Go read my Nobel acceptance speech."
And you read that speech, and he talks about war sometimes being necessary. He says it's never glorious, and it is an expression and manifestation of human folly.
SAWYER: So looking at everything you found out and everything you reported, is this any way to run a war?
WOODWARD: You know, the nice thing about being a journalist is you don't have to give grades or make judgments. You just try to chart what happened. I'm convinced people will have very different reactions to this. I think there's so much new about what -- how he looks at this, how his mind works, what the turmoil and danger is out there.
I -- I -- I suspect a lot of people are just going to say, "Oh, you mean that group, and that group, and this group is trying to attack us?" And we don't know. We didn't -- you know, the Times Square bomber, he's not going to be in the history books, because it didn't go off. Well, Leon Panetta went to Pakistan and said, if this had gone off, hundreds if not thousands of people would have been killed. Then it would have been in the history books.
And General Jones and Panetta made the point. They just said, you are putting us in a corner. Panetta said, all bets are off about being allies, about being strategic partners. If this happens, you know, the world's going to change in lots of ways. And Dick Cheney is going to be out there, wagging his finger. Whether with justice or wrongly, he's going to be wagging his finger and going to say, "We didn't let it happen again on our watch."
And so, you know, you come away with the feeling -- somebody said to me the other day, this will be my last book, and it'll be called, "It's Hard to be President."