Transcript: Clinton and Giuliani

"This Week" transcript with Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani

ByABC News
October 16, 2009, 1:17 PM


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: And we begin today with theSecretary of State Hillary Clinton. Thanks for spending time with us this morning.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Oh, it's a pleasure to talk withyou from Singapore, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And as you're in Singapore, you and the President arefacing really his toughest decision yet on Afghanistan. And on his wayover when he stopped in Elmendorf Air Force Base, President Obama madethis commitment to the troops and the country. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATESTEPHANOPOULOS: We'll giveyou the strategy and the clear mission you deserve. We'll give you theequipment and support that you need to get the job done. And thatincludes public support back home. That is a promise that I make to you.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Now that is a tough promise to keep. History showsthat the public won't support a war for very long if they're notconvinced that the goal is worthy. But also, and probably moreimportant, that the war can be won. How can you convince the country that this war can be won?

CLINTON: Well I think the President said it very well in talking tosome of the brave young men and women in uniform when he stopped atElmendorf.

What he's been doing in the last weeks is testing every singleassumption, asking for evidence, asking for dissenting opinions. Imean, he has conducted an extraordinary effort to make sure that the decisionhe makes is rooted in his best judgment as to what is in the nationalsecurity interest of the United States. And I believe that's a casethat can be made to the American people. I have no doubt about that. Now, look, I understand that there will be people who are maybe criticalor unconvinced or not persuaded. But I think the majority of Americanswill know that this president has gone the extra mile, in fact, morethan that to make sure that whatever decision he makes is in the bestinterest of our country, that it is aimed at making our country moresecure and supporting our men and women in uniform as they fulfill themission.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, one of those dissenting voices right now isreported to be our ambassador in Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry. He's alsothe former commanding general of U.S. forces there. And he has sentcables to Washington warning that President Karzai is not a worthypartner and that sending more troops to Afghanistan now could actuallymake it more difficult for the Afghan government, President Karzai, theAfghan army to do what they need to defend their country on their own. And I know you can't comment on any classified cables but what do youthink of this sentiment that President Karzai has not shown that he's acredible partner yet and that sending more troops now will actually makethe Afghan army too dependent on U.S. forces?

CLINTON: Well, George, you're right. I can't and wouldn't comment onthe confidential advice that anyone has provided to the President duringhis deliberations. But the argument that you've just described is onethat a number of people have made in the press and in arguments thathave certainly been made known to me, to the President and others. We agree that our goal here is to defeat al-Qaeda. That has been aclear goal and a mission from the President ever since he made hiscommitment of additional troops back in the spring. And we understandthat the Afghans themselves need help in order to defend themselvesagainst the Taliban. Those are mutually reinforcing missions but ourhighest obligation is to the American people. It is to do everything wecan to make sure that America is secure, that our allies, our interestsaround the world are protected. And that is what we're focused on. Now we believe that President Karzai and his government can do better. We've delivered that message. Now that the election is finally overwe're looking to see tangible evidence that the government, led by thepresident but going all the way down to the local level, will be moreresponsive to the needs of the people, will deliver the services that thepeople of Afghanistan want, who do not want to return to the Taliban,but they want a government that actually can function on their behalf. And that together we and our allies in the international community willhelp them to build a security force that can take care of their securitygoing forward.