TRANSCRIPT: Bob Woodward Talks to ABC's Diane Sawyer About 'Obama's Wars'


And it may be more in taxes. It may be voluntary service to inspect bags at airports. There's a great history of leaders calling for sacrifice. And you wonder -- it's always struck me as a little odd that President Bush, President Obama, they don't -- they praise the military. They genuinely love the military. But they don't do recruiting ads. You don't see presidents out there saying, "Go join the Marine Corps or the Army or the Navy. It is honorable, necessary service." Maybe that's part of something somebody owes them.

SAWYER: Just one more clip I think we have.



OBAMA: All those things have had an impact in securing better cooperation. But, number one, it's not enough. Al Qaida is still dangerous. Number two, what you've seen is a metastasizing of Al Qaida, where a range of loosely affiliated groups now have the capacity and the ambition to recruit and train for attacks that may not be on the scale of a 9/11, but obviously can still be...

WOODWARD: One man, one bomb?

OBAMA: One man, one bomb in Times Square.


SAWYER: So the Pakistanis have not done enough, he's...

WOODWARD: Of course they haven't done enough. And, you know, what -- one man, one bomb could change a great deal. One of the other things, if I may, that is so important in understanding this is Secretary of Defense Bob Gates. And at one point, President Obama said to General Jones, my goal is to keep Gates. I don't want to break with the secretary of defense. And it turns out that late last year, Obama called Gates in, Gates, holdover from the Bush era, agreed to stay for a year, and Obama said to him, I want you to stay for the whole term, four years.

Gates, who was hoping to come in and say I want to leave, I've fulfilled my year-plus, was taken aback and really kind of -- it got under his skin, and actually told people the president sounded like a rug merchant, negotiating how long he was going to stay.

Clearly, Gates wants out. And he's agreed to stay for that second year, but as the president told me and is so clear in all -- Gates is a -- kind of a connective tissue and somebody who helps Obama with the Republicans, needless to say, because Gates was appointed to lots of jobs by Republicans.

It's -- we've all seen in institutions when somebody is a short-timer, wants to get out, wants to leave, that's something that's got to be settled. The secretary of defense is the -- kind of the final window into the world of choice for a president.

And that's one of those things ticking away. What's -- what's Gates going to do? What's the nature of the relationship for -- for Gates to feel kind of preempted, pushed around, feel that the president is negotiating with him like a rug merchant, when Gates and his wife, Becky, want to go back to Washington state, where they have a home? That's another thing that's got to be fixed. And you wonder how and when.

SAWYER: Big -- a big convulsion when he leaves?

WOODWARD: Depends on who and how it's done and when, under what...

SAWYER: Before -- and before 2011, July 2011?

WOODWARD: You know, the -- as all this reporting shows, the Afghan war is not going well. There are lots of downsides. Petraeus is there, and, you know, if anyone can pull it out -- no one thought he'd pull Iraq out, and a convergence of factors led to -- you know, it's not over, but it's in the column that's a potential success.

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