Your Voice Your Vote 2024

Live results
Last Updated: May 21, 9:39:48PM ET

Pelosi and Gates Differ on Expectations for July 2011 Troop Withdrawal

Speaker of House, Sec'y of Defense Answer Tough Questions on Afghanistan Policy

ByABC News
August 1, 2010, 7:50 AM

August 1, 2010— -- As July became the deadliest month in the almost nine-year-old war in Afghanistan, Christiane Amanpour sat down with two key players and asked them the hard questions about America's longest war.

In exclusive interviews on "This Week," Amanpour spoke with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who just passed a bill to fund the war, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who supervises the war effort.

Both Gates and Pelosi insisted that the war was in the strategic interest of the United States but differed on what they hoped the July 2011 troop withdrawal date might mean.

"We are not there to take on a nationwide reconstruction or construction project in Afghanistan. What we have to do is focus our efforts on those civilian aspects and governance to help us accomplish our security objective," Gates said. "We are in Afghanistan because we were attacked from Afghanistan, not because we want to try and build a better society in Afghanistan."

Pelosi emphasized our security interest there. "We're in Afghanistan because it's in our strategic national interests to be so for our own national security, to stop terrorism, to increase global security."

Gates said that the huge cache of secret documents obtained by the Web site WikiLeaks left him disgusted.

"How angry are you about it?" Amanpour asked.

"I'm not sure anger is the right word. I just -- I think mortified, appalled," Gates said.

"And if I'm angry, it is because I believe that this information puts those in Afghanistan who have helped us at risk. It puts our soldiers at risk because ... our adversaries can learn a lot about our techniques, tactics and procedures from the body of these leaked documents," he said.

"You know, growing up in the intelligence business, protecting your sources is sacrosanct," Gates, who served as director of the CIA in the early 1990s, explained.