Transcript: Feinstein, Chambliss, McGovern, Keane

"This Week" transcript with Feinstein, Chambliss, McGovern, Keane

ByABC News
October 9, 2009, 5:11 PM




(UNKNOWN): Barack Obama...

STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): A puzzling prize for peace...

OBAMA: I will accept this award as a call to action.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... as the president deliberates on war.

(UNKNOWN): What approach should we take in Afghanistan? I sayhumility.

CLINTON: There is no discussion going on about leavingAfghanistan.

GATES: The situation in Afghanistan is serious anddeteriorating.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Congress pushes forward on health care.

PELOSI: We're coming around the curve.

MCCONNELL: The bill it's referring to will never see the lightof day.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Two defining issues, two powerhouse roundtables.Afghanistan with key Senate leaders, the retired general who devisedIraq's surge and the congressman leading the charge for an exit fromAfghanistan, our "This Week" debate.

Then, health care, ethics and all the week's politics with GeorgeWill, Arianna Huffington, and our dueling strategists, Democrat DonnaBrazile and Republican Nicolle Wallace.

And, as always, the Sunday funnies.

FALLON: Along with the Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama alsogets $1.4 million. Usually to get a check that big, you need toblackmail David Letterman.


ANNOUNCER: From the heart of the nation's capital, "This Week"with ABC News chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos,live from the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What was the Nobel committee thinking? Whatimpact will the peace prize have on President Obama and his agenda?We're going to debate both those questions today, but we will beginwith the president's looming decision on the war in Afghanistan.

And for that, let me bring in our first roundtable. I am joinedby the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein...

FEINSTEIN: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... the former vice chair of the -- the chiefsof staff for the military, Jack Keane, retired general, architect ofthe surge in Iraq, Congressman Jim McGovern from Massachusetts, theauthor of a bill calling for an exit strategy from Afghanistan, andSenator Saxby Chambliss, member of the Senate Armed Services andIntelligence Committee.

Welcome to you all.

And, Senator Feinstein, let me begin with you. You met with thepresident this week. He had a group of members of Congress andsenators down to meet with him. And I -- we -- we know -- and you sawSecretary Clinton say that, as well -- the president seems to haveruled out immediate withdrawal...

FEINSTEIN: That's correct.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... from Afghanistan or a major increase oftroops, in the hundreds of thousands. But did he reveal anything elseabout his thinking? And what did you recommend to him?

FEINSTEIN: Well, what he revealed was his thinking up to thispoint, and that the fact that he wanted to hear from various members,and some of us spoke up. And I'll tell you what I said. I reviewedall of the intelligence and looked at the situation, and it was prettyclear to me that violence was up 100 percent, 950 attacks in August.The Taliban now controls 37 percent of the people in the areas wherethese people are. Attrition in police is running 67 percent, eitherkilled or leaving the service.

And the mission is in serious jeopardy. I think GeneralMcChrystal, who is one of our very best, if not the best at this, hassaid a counterterrorism strategy will not work. The president said tous very clearly, just as you said, George, we will not pull out.

Now, if you're going to stay, you have to have a way of winning.The question is, what is that way? And I think the counterinsurgencystrategy, which means protecting the people, not shooting from afar,but securing, taking, holding, and providing security for a period oftime is really critical.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How many more troops does that take?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't know how many he's proposed. I onlyknow what I've read in the newspapers. At the same time, there has tobe a process of reconciliation. At the same time, there has to be aprocess of finding out, which of these people can we work with andwhich can we not, like the Haqqani network, which really need to betaken out? How do you grow this sort of feudal-type warlordgovernment into stability? How do you strengthen Karzai's spine, ifyou can?

And I think those are all questions that have to be put togetherinto a strategy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A lot of questions there, Senator Chambliss.Does that lead you to believe that the president should approveGeneral McChrystal's request now?

CHAMBLISS: I don't think there's any question (inaudible) goingto have to, and I think it's the right thing to do. He sent GeneralMcChrystal over there in the spring and said, "You go see what it'slike on the ground. Give me a report, and let's devise a strategy forgoing forward." He's done that, and Dianne's exactly right. It's avery fractious government over there. It's a lot of corruption withinthe Karzai government and not much stability.

CHAMBLISS: But if we're going to move forward, we've got to dotwo things. First of all, we've got to think about the civilian sideand what we're going to do with that government. From the standpointof trying to help the Afghan people clean it up, in order to besuccessful at doing that, then we've got to quell the violence.

We've got to slow down the Taliban. That means prevailingmilitarily. And, obviously, that's where the additional resources inthe form of troops come in. That's where General McChrystal has --has recommended. And I think the president has got to follow hiscommanders on the ground...


CHAMBLISS: The situation in Iraq that Jack was very muchinvolved in is -- was not unlike where we are right now. The Iraqigovernment was very unstable. The violence was up. We stopped theviolence for the most part, and then you saw people have confidence ingovernment.