tv Charlie Rose PBS December 5, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
this is a guy actually who relishes making decisions. and it is one of the things that surprised me most about him, because here is somebody who before he became president really had never run anything, but he is very deliberative when he has the time to be deliberative, but i have seen instances also where he had to react very quickly and he didn't hesitate. so i think it would be a mistake particularly on bashar al-assad part to underestimate him. >> rose: robert gate for the hour, next. >> charlie rose was provided by the following.
city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: robert gates is here, hhe has had a distinguished career in public service spanning six decades and served under eight presidents from lyndon johnson to barack obama. >> he took the top job in 1991 under george h.w. bush, president of texas a & m university from 2002 to 2006 when president george w. bush appointed him secretary of defense. president obama asked him to stay at the pentagon making him the first defense secretary to serve in both a republican and the democratic administration, he left his post in june, 2011. at his farewell ceremony president obama awarded him the presidential award of freedom. >> the highest honor. >> this is a man i have come to know and respect. a humble american patriot. a man of common sense and
decency. quite simply one of our nation's finest public servants. >> rose: today the united states face as wave of foreign policy challenges, including the pressing question of how to respond to the potential use of chemical weapons by the assad government in syria, the government warned him of the consequence conditions consequences he could expect. >> i want to make it clear to assad and those under his command the world is watching, the use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable. and if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons there will be consequences and you will be held accountable. >> rose: i am pleased to have bob gates back at this table. welcome. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: so what are you doing since you left government? >> well, i am working on a book, a mental with a of my time under presidents bush and obama as secretary of defense, and doing some speaking but staying as far
from washington, d.c. as i can. >> rose: when you look at writing a book, i mean, how hard is that for you to take the time anand think of all of the events and make sure that you get it right as you recollect it? >> first i have given myself a little out at the beginning by saying this is a purely personal reminiscence of what i experienced and what i saw, i am not trying to write the defensive history and others will have a different perspective on things, but it was -- we were at war every day of the four and a half years i was in office, and as i write in the book it wasn't just the wars in iraq and afghanistan, it was daily wars with the congress, with other agencies, with the white house, and also i would say with my own building, with the pentagon. >> rose: fighting over what within the pentagon? >> trying to make the first priority of the pentagon to be
successful in the wars we were already in, the pentagon bureaucracy is structured to plan for war, not to wage war, and so getting badly needed equipment to the troops fast in months rather than in years or decades was just contrary to the nature of the building and it required a lot of effort to get them to do what i thought was the right thing, whether it was fixing walter reed and the way we treated our walter reed hospital and the way we treated our wounded warriors to armored vehicles to intelligence surveillance and recon sanls vehicles and drones, medivac and so on, it was it was a struggle. >> rose: as close as i have seen you tear up is when you talk about the responsibility of those men and women in harm's way. and you have said your legacy you hope is that they. >> rose:. > had their back to try and
get them home safely and to care for them if you could. >> well, that is absolutely right and nothing means more to me -- i gave a speech at a little university in jackson, tennessee a few weeks ago, a couple of months ago, and it was an evening event and is my won't i had lunch in a down scale barbecue place and sitting there munching down on my ribs and a working man came up to me, his clothe, he was clearly involved in physical labor and so on, and he said, weren't you the secretary of defense? i said yes. and he said, well my on is a marine and than thank you for hg his back. and as i told the people with me, that kind of thing means more to me than any medal or any recognition that anybody else could give me.
and i the things i write about in the book is one of the reasons i decided it was time to leave was that i had come to care so much about the troops and about protecting them that i worried that i was not giving the president the kind of advice that i should, and as i write, i got to the point where i couldn't talk about them or to them without choking up. and so that was one of the reasons why i decided it was time to leave. >> rose: meaning your heart was overwhelming you? >> yeah. i just -- their service, their sacrifice, what they were putting up with, the fact they are all volunteers, it just became overwhelming to me. >> rose: does the country do enough for them? >> i think the country works very hard to do the right thing by them. it is so different from when i first entered government and in the years after vietnam. there are so many companies now
that have special programs to try and train veterans that give them really good jobs and so many communities have organized so many things to help wounded warriors and to help them reintegrate, one of the things that is really, really made me feel good is the number of universities around the country that have put together veterans programs in their university to help the veterans, a place where they can get together and a place where they can get counseling and advice and financial assistance and so on, it is all -- i think everybody is trying to do the right thing. yet in some ways there is never enough. there is a lot of them, you know, there have been maybe a million and a half, 2 million people serve over the last ten years, so it is a big challenge, but i think people's hearts in the right place. >> rose: i do too and i think there has been a real celebration since vietnam when they came back from the wars since then. >> and the interesting thing, charlie is kind, there kind of has been a reach back to the
vietnam vets as well. >> rose: yes. >> to sort of say in a way for the country to say, you know, we are sorry, we didn't do that right. >> rose: right. exactly. and the other thing that is apparent to me is that because of iraq and afghanistan, we have asked them to serve more times, longer and they are coming back with more improved medical care which means that more are injured than have ever been before. >> i think this is one of the things for which we were unprepared, is the quality of battlefield medicine, the shortened times for medical evacuation to a field hospital, getting them to germany to the hospital at lamb stool and bringing them on to the united states as soon as they have stabilized has led to .. many of these young men, and they are mostly young men, a few women, but mostly young men, surviving
wounds that would have surely killed them in any prior war, even ten or fifteen years ago, and i remember the first time i but at walter reed and i went, met with the first quadruple amputee, he lost both legs and both arms, and all he wanted was to drive a car again. and i saw him again, maybe six months later, with pro they tick arms and legs, prosthetic arms and legs, it is amazing what science and medicine is doing for these young people .. but nobody should estimate, underestimate the magnitude of the rehabilitation challenge and the courage that it takes, day in and day out to try and come back from these terrible wounds and that is where there is not enough we can do for these kids.
>> rose: are we over stretched? >> i don't think so. i think we were over stretched at the end of 2006 .. and particularly in the early months of 2007, during the surge in iraq, i think one of the hardest decisions i made, maybe the hardest decision that i made as secretary was extending the length of deployments in iraq and afghanistan from twelve months to 15 months, and we did it for about a year and a half. and two years, and the alternative was to cut short their time at home. so if they were only to serve twelve months in the theatre then they might only be home for nine months or eight months or something, and so the recommendation of all of the generals and others was do the 15 and let them have the year at home, but there is no doubt in my mind that those tours were
incredibly difficult for the troops and it was because we just didn't have enough troops that were deployable to do both an increase in afghanistan and to do the surge in iraq. >> rose: do we need a different kind of army? military -- >> i think that the army is constantly evolving. i think all of the services are. my major concern is that we get fixed on the idea that technology is the only answer to our military challenges, that we are only going to fight certain kinds of wars in the future. you know, we say we would never fight another counterinsurgency after vietnam but guess what, we did, and as i look back at all of the times we have used military force since vietnam, when it comes to predicting where we will use our military next, we have a perfect record. >> rose: we are always wrong.
>> i have never gotten it right, not once. >> rose: why? >> because the world is unpredictable. and so my mantra when i was secretary was, we need a force that is equipped and trained to provide the maximum possible versatility across the broadest possible range of conflict, because we can't predict what the next conflict will be like and, therefore, we have to train and have as much flexibility and versatility as possible. we can't just prepare for one kind of conflict. > >> rose: you also have said, i think on leaving, that i don't want to be secretary of state when you are fighting these kind of ground wars, you know, with increasing budget demands on the pentagon. >> well, i think there is no question but that the ground forces are going to get smaller, but as i pointed out the people, even with the budget cut that
president obama asked for of 400, almost $485 billion in 2011, even with the cuts in the army that that would have involved, the army would have still been roughly 30 or 40,000 troops bigger than it was when i became secretary in december of 2006. because i increased the size of the army by 65,000 in 2007, and then gave them an additional temporary increels of 2000 in 2008, or in 2010, rather, increels of 200,000, so i worry we think the answer is always go to be high tech, because it is cleaner, it is -- it dictates a different kind of war than we fought in iraq and afghanistan and i hope those are the kind of wars, if we have to fight, that that is what we don't have to go through what we went through in
iraq and afghanistan, but i remember .. one of my favorite quotes is from general joe still well, from world war two, who basically said how a war starts, it always ends in mud. >> rose: ground forces fighting each other. >> and so you just don't know .. and because you don't know, you need to preserve flexibility. >> rose: you can't occupy with machines, can you, from the air? >> well, and w we learned that. >> you said talking about the challenge today, what is it that we face? and how is it different than we faced before? because you talked about, you know, this toxic mix of rogue nations, criminal networks and nuclear and biological and chemical weapons. how do you see this challenge? and secondly how do we meet this challenge? >> i think one of the challenges that we face is that nonstate
entities have the potential to acquire these weapons, and states that are deeply unstable internally have acquired these weapons. the president's concern about syria and chemical weapons is a good example, but hezbollah, which iran and syria have supported on israel's northern border in lebanon have somewhere in the order of 40,000 rockets and missiles, some of them pretty well advanced. i think one of the worries is that somehow maybe hezbollah could get ahold of some of those chemical weapons. >> from syria? >> if syria lets them go in some way. but i think you face a number of countries that have these capabilities and they are not --
there was a certain -- when you were dealing with great powers, if you will, you had more confidence in terms of the control systems, in terms of reduced risk of these weapons getting out of the hand of the government or of the military, and i think that the worry that people have now, i think, you know, people always ask us, you know, what is your biggest nightmare? well, it is a weapon of mass destruction falling in the hands of the terrorists, and we were very fortunate with al qaeda, we know al qaeda was trying their darnedest to get nuclear weapons and chemical weapons and so on. so far, they appear to have paid in that. >> rose: where did they come the closest? >> we had a bad scare i am trying to remember, maybe in 2009, 2010 when we thought one of those groups along the
pakastani border may have gotten some nuclear material, but it turned out it was a false report it was not true but it is the kind of thing that is the kind of thing of your nightmares is that what you worried about even more so than the fact they would use them against, say israel? >> if their goal is to acquire nuclear weapons there would be three very negative consequences one is you would have a nuclear armed iran with missiles that could reach israel and that can reach israel today and that will be able to reach europe in the not-too-distant future and ultimately the united states. second, you would have, i think, a nuclear tarmd iran would ignite a nuclear arms race in the most volatile part of the world, and third, you -- i think a nuclear armed iran would be significantly more aggressive in
placing like iraq and afghanistan and throughout the region in terms of trying to throw their weight around. so i think that this is one of those situations where the only acceptable alternative, the only good alternative is that the economic pressures bring enough popular unhappiness in iran because of economic disasters that are going on there, that the regime decides it is in its own best interests and for its own security. >> rose: that assumes rational thinking on their part. >> i think that they are not irrational. and, you know, to say that they are rational actors all the time, i don't accept that either, but when it comes to these kind of things, the one thing they don't want is a war with the united states. and so i think that this -- the
only good outcome to this situation is if the iranian government, the ayatollahs decide it is in their own best interest to come to some sort of deal where we have enough confidence in the monitoring of the peaceful or civilian nuclear program to know if they decide to cheat or if they decided to break out and go for a nuclear weapon, and whether they would agree to the kinds of intrusive measures mess for that confidence, i don't know. >> rose: do you think they want them for want the capacity to make them? >> charlie, i don't think it matters, because our intelligence isn't good huff to draw that distinction, isn't good enough .. if you have the capacity to make, arm a nuclear capability, whether you have a piece of bomb in that corner and another one over there and another one over there, or you have one all put together, we are just not that good and so there is a certain point at which you have to assume that
they have a nuclear capability and depending on how much they are enriching and how much information you get about their ability to weaponize the enriched uranium and so on. >> rose: but you don't believe, like the president doesn't believe that containment is a policy? the monitoring of uses is the way to go if you force them to do that but containment is not a policy? >> i think the president has been very clear that containment is not a policy. and i think, you know, containment, containment was not nuclear containment, with russia and china, containment when it came to russia was countering their expansive capabilities. >> rose: right. >> our own -- when it came to their nuclear capability we were talking about deterrence. >> rose: right. >> and so i think first we want to contain iranian influence in
the region, but i think the question that people are -- that what the president is really addressing is, or would we be content with deterrence? >> right. >> and there i think the difference in the ayatollahs and their religious, their they cratic approach to the world, their threats to destroy israel make them a more worrisome, significantly more worrisome possess sorry of nuclear weapons than other nuclear states. >> rose: because they have a different decision al type structure. >> yes. >> rose: from russia, and the soviet union from going into europe once again, deterrence is mutually assured destruction. and so then, does the question of value and life, different because of a culture that can produce suicide bombers mean that there -- means that will not work in the end or do you
say no nationable and the leadership of no nation would ever, ever bargain initiate an action that assured their own destruction? >> well, one thing about the iranian leaders that they have in common with the leaders of terrorist groups like bin laden, they are not strapping on the suicide bombs, they are very willing to see young people and handicapped people and so on strap these things on, but their lives mean a lot to them, and that is something in our hip pocket it seems to me. they want to stay alive and they want to stay in power. >> rose: i want to talk about that. one quick question about what you believe with respect to iran. you believe that an attack by rael will be a terrible thing to happen, because it would only delay the inevitable acquisition of nuclear weapons and that kind of capability? delay not destroy? >> first of all it won't destroy
the nuclear program, and i would say that within the framework of a limited attack neither could we. we might delay it more or longer than the israelis, but i believe you can't put the technology back in the bottle and i think they would just go more covert and go deeper, i think you would would rally the iranian people behind them. >> rose: even the reform element? >> even the reform element. this predates the revolution and started under the shah. >> rose: and we were looking to it at that time with a positive attitude were we not? >> i think we didn't. >> i wasn't very old at the time. i think that, you know, we were willing to see him go forward with a peaceful nuclear program, but i don't think we ever supported the idea of the shah acquiring nuclear weapons. but i think that, what i am trying to say is, that two meat
it was to the iranian government being pressured to decide to walk away from a nuclear program, both meat it was are potentially catastrophic, if iran acquires nuclear weapons that is potentially catastrophic for all the reasons we talked about. if there is a war, if there is an attack, you know, the assumption on the part of some is, it will be a limited -- it would elicit a limited iranian response, maybe, maybe not. we don't know. >> rose: it may not be limited you mean? >> yeah, in other words the iranians, one theory is the iranians will mob a few miss. >> missiles into israel and claim they have retaliated and that would be the end of it and maybe hezbollah would launch some scores of missiles of hundreds of missiles into israel and then a few days later it would all be over. personally i don't believe that.
i believe that the iranians are not the iraqis who did nothing after the attack on their reactor in 1981, or the syrians who did nothing after the attack on their reactor in 2007. i think the iranians will respond. >> rose: and they could play havoc with the world economy. >> they could play havoc with the world economy. i think you would see a wave of terror across the region, potentially even here at home. i don't think, just for your personal, as per personal opinion, i don't think they would try to block the persian gulf because that would cut their own throats, but i would not be surprised to see them attack the oil facilities of other countries on the periphery of the gulf. and to do other things that would drive the price of oil through the roof but i think -- and i think you would see them behave in a very different way in both iraq and afghanistan. >> rose: based on everything you know, do you believe that
they will respond to the economic embargo, the economic sanctions if we turn that screw as hard as we possibly can? >> i don't think the government will, if there is one thing that the iranians, saddam hussein, the north koreans and bashar al-assad all have in common is they don't care how many other people get killed. >> rose: even their own people? >> it is what happens to them that matters. so the question is, do those, can the sanctions be made to bind deeply enough that from an internal standpoint the stability of the regime is threatened? and the question is whether that kind of tightening of the screw can have the effects soon enough to happen before a military attack is
launched by israel or whoever, and before the iranians get to a nuclear capability. >> rose: so which should we do in syria if they attempt to move the chemical weapons? >> well, i think based on what the president has said, we would have no alternative to some kind of military response and then there are a range of possibilities but i think, i mean one thing about when we use this expression, more than once, when the president of the united states cox the pistol, he better be ready to fire it, and so a warning of that kind .. must have consequences if something happens with those nuclear -- with those chemical weapons but he has a wide range i think of options in that event. >> rose: based on everything you know about this president is he prepared? >> oh, yes.
i think, you know, one of the things about president obama, he is very tough minded and i think his decision to go after bin laden, his decisions on afghanistan, in terms of the troop buildups, this is a guy who actually relishes making decisions and it was one of the things that surprised me most about him because here is somebody who before he became president really never had run anything. but he is very deliberative when he has the time to be deliberative but i have seen instances also where he had to react very quickly and he didn't hesitate. so i think it would be a mistake, particularly on bashar al-assad's part to underestimate him. >> rose: and you have seen -- i mean you served as i said lyndon i don't know son, at the time he was president but ronald reagan, up close, george bush,
41, up close, george bush 43, up close, and then president obama, i mean he is as decisive and as tough mined as any president you have served? >> i think so, yeah. >> rose: and that augers well for us? >> i hope so. >> rose: but what is it, the options? i mean is it a strike is it special operations that a president has a at his hand to stop him from doing something with the chemical weapons? is there a lead time? as soon as they begin to move them one place to the other you have to act? is that what pushes it past the red line? >> i think all i would say, charlie is that i think that senator panetta and general dempsey would present the president with a rich menu of options. >> rose: yes. who do you think a assad thinks his options are? is it your
experience people at that level facing that kind of pressure whether qaddafi or assad or whoever it may be simply cannot go beyond trying t to maintain themselves in power? they seem hot to be willing to make a wise decision to let go? >> first of all, the assad family and the alawite, shy a minority, shia minority have suppressed the sunni and other religious and ethnic groups in syria for decades. .. there is a scorecard that those other groups will want to even of massacres and executions. and i think one of the reasons the alawites and assad are fighting so hard is that they have some sense of what is likely to happen to them if the
opposition is successful in unseating the government in syria. so this is a potentially very ugly situation. it is ugly now because of assad. it could get ugly after. >> rose: because we don't know what is coming exactly? >> see, this is the thing that i often would talk about and maybe, maybe it is another reason it was a good time to leave, is because i became over the years, i spent most of my career in cia trying to forecast what people would do, and how things would turn out and when it comes to saying what is going to happen, we have every reason to be very modest about our abilities to do that. because the truth is, we can monitor weapons, we can monitor movements of military forces, but the decision to use them or how to use them is something that often is a mystery to us. and sometimes because the protagonist himself doesn't know
walt he is going to do. so i have -- i became very cautious and, again, it may have been one of the reasons i decided to leave, i became very cautious about the use of military force, because the consequences are so unpredictable. maybe it will be a small reaction, but maybe not. and then you are back in another big war. we saw two swift, successful military missions for regime change in iraq and afghanistan. we all know what came after that. we took out qaddafi, the rebels in liberty i can't took out qaddafi with the help of western air support. things aren't looking that great in libya right now, so with we need to understand a that there are the law of unintended consequences is always at work in these situations. >> rose: i have heard you say
two things. one is that you begin to worry that your concern about the welfare of the men and women in harm's way, you might have too for lack of a better word, had a stronger place in your decision al structural than it ought to be, am i right about that? >> i became to worry i had become too protective of them. >> rose: secondly you seemed to be saying, i began to worry that we didn't know what would be the consequences and that worried you too. and in some sense of how things could get out of control and that it became -- am i real ng you right on that? >> absolutely. >> rose: so those are the two things when weighing the factors to step down that had weight on the decision to step down now? >> when we look at history for a second -- >> i will give you a concrete example. i opposed the intervention in libya. this is not a vital, this is not
of vital national interest, and we are already in two wars, in fact, in the situation room i would say can i just finish the two wars i am already in before we go looking for another one? >> rose: yes. >> and and, you know, we didn't know what would happen in libya. now, we had basically a pretty weak military, pretty weak air defenses, so the chances of getting into a major coon conflict, and particularly if we kept ground forces out was not -- was not great, i would say, but it still seemed to me, you know, hiv is a problem -- because of those things this is a problem others should be able to handle if the decision is made to handle it. now, a lot of people, particularly some of the -- those on the right would say that is leading from behind or that that is not united states leadership. and all i would say is, the
world faces many challenges, some of them do affect our vital national interests. i worry that we will be unable to protect our vital national interests if we are distracted by conflicts that are not a part of our vital interests. >> rose: when you look back to cia i am going back to your own personal history there and at the time you had to access the risk whether looking at the soviet union and their capacities and what not, were there serious mistakes made by the intelligence community having to do with iraq or having to do with the soviet union that made you question whether, you know, our intelligence? >> i think when it came to the soviet military, there were no strategically consequential mistakes after we launched our first satellites in the early 1960s, in the late fifties, we had the bomber gap and the
missile gap and so on, and with our first satellites we realized how big a lead we had. that was one of the things in president kennedy's hip pocket that wasn't talked about at the time was by then he knew how many missiles, had a pretty good idea how many more missiles we had than they did and it was a substantial lead. and so khrushchev was essentially bluffing in many respects but i think, you know, we have underestimated this and that many terms of range or power or speed of submarines and things like that but i think in terms of big surprises there really haven't been. >> it was the economy we misjudged? >> well even there i would take issue, because, you know, i mean i was there in the beginning of the late seventies, we were telling the congress and the president that their economy was in serious trouble. i mean one of the things that president nixon knew when he started the strategic arm talks with the soviets was that the
ace in the hole he had was that their economy wouldn't sustain a continued arms race with us. and every president after him believed that the soviet economy was a source of weakness. but just in terms of missing it at the end, i will tell you something that i wrote about that because i wasn't at the agency i can defend them without defending myself. just even in the end game, cia, when i became deputy national security advisor in january of 1989, cia was cometology, was coming to me with so much information about how the regime was collapsing economically, how gorbachev essentially had destroyed the old stalinist economy but hadn't put anything in its place that i went to president obama and -- president bush in july of 1989, bush authorized me to form a very secret planning group, a
contingency planning group to prepare for the clams of the soviet union, and the person from the nsc staff, that general scowcroft and i put in charge was a young woman named condoleezza rice .. so two and a half years before the soviet union collapsed, the united states was beginning contingency planning to goal that collapse. the first briefing that i ever heard where i heard the cia tell the president of the united states this regime cannot last, and it is not in the distant future. it is on its last legs. >> rose: that was in -- >> 1985, before his first meeting with gorbachev. >> rose: let me move to china, in the few minutes remaining, the president has said, we are going to pivot to china, but as soon as we pivot to china or to asia, to the east, something happens in the old world that causes us to happen to get
involved, engaged, pay attention, you worry about the chinese military buildup. do you worry about their intentions? >> i worry that this is a relationship that needs very careful management by both washington and beijing. i think that first of all the chinese learned their 11 from the soviets, their lesson from the soviets and won't try to match up militarily surface ship with surface ship, sub marine to susub marine they want the abily to keep our aircraft carriers and may i have beyond to east of taiwan and japan and so on, first island chain they call it and they are developing specific capabilities to do that, highly accurate cruise and ballistic missiles that could potentially
put our aircraft carriers at risk and building a lot of diesel and nuclear submarines, they have clearly been working on cyber and they have clearly been working on anti-satellite capabilities so those are some of the focused areas in which they are trying to be able to make, take advantage of our vulnerabilities. i worry that if their economy -- well, let me say, i think the only source of legitimacy for that regime is a steadily improving standard of living. if their economy begins to slow down and they can't do that, there is a lot of unrest in china today. i mean just to take one example, in social media, you know, there are thousands and thousands of demonstrations and riots in china every year, many of them in rural areas, well to paraphrase the old ad, it used to be that what happened this
the village stayed in the village. >> rose: nobody knew? >> nobody knew, but now, it is all over the country. in terms of what is going on and how they managed that, i think is a challenge they have. i think they have some big, big challenges, just give you one other example. in the last ten years, a population the equivalent of great britain germany and france has moved from the country side to the cities two, hundred million people. and they don't have the same status as those who live there of initially, officially, you have an urban middle class 300 million people and growing .. this is a society that has got a lot of pushes and pulls going on, and my worry is that if they find it difficult to manage that, they resort to nationalism, you have seen a little bit of that toward japan, and the problem is, that that wells up from the people. that is not the government and the government has tried to use
some of these demonstrations to sort of make a point about japan, and they nearly lost control on a couple of occasions, so i -- i think that -- i don't think of china as an enemy, it is a competitor. it is a partner in many ways. but we also have to work with the chinese in terms of how do we -- how do we persuade them to become a responsible steak holder? .. and sort of abide by the rules? china's rise is not necessarily disadvantages you to the united states. >> rose: it is not a zero sum a game? >> no, i don't think, so and particularly their economic expansion. >> do you believe that the new team of leadership, those you might have met, see the world differently than huh huh engine too? >> i honestly don't know, i
think that they, at least at the outset, will be pretty cautious. but i was very worried just in the last few days, this announcement that they were going to board boats that were doing illegal things within the 12-mile limit. and but they were drawing that 12-mile limit it sounded like around all of the island that they claim, and it came out of hanan island and i was thinking is this some local thing or with beijing or what is going on here? so it is just something that is going to bear a lot of watching but i think a lot of sophistication on the part of washington in terms of how we manage this. >> rose: there is a need in so many areas for cooperation between china and the united states. you know, and if you can somehow make corporation more powerful, whether it is iraq or iran or whether it is
some other place and eliminate the fear that they may have, the possibilities exist to do a lot of things together that could make a difference on big, global issues. >> one of the things that i try to do in terms of strengthening the military, military relationship was to begin exercising together our navies on things like humanitarian assistance. and i think there is room for that kind of cooperation and one of the things that we agreed while i was in china was that we would exchange younger people in our militaries, like from our military academies to spend time in each other's country and at each other's military schools. i think there is a lot to be gained by this. i think the more interaction we can have with these guys at a
military and political level to complement the economic relationship will be all the better. >> rose: getting back to the middle east and other parts of the world and also in asia because of the presence of terrorism in asia as we have seen, you know, are we winning the battle of ideas with all of those groups now splinter groups, groups that emerged out of al qaeda so that they are less appealing and so that the effort to eliminate them is going better? >> i am not sure that i would say we are winning the battle of ideas, but ideas that we hate are losing. whatever, whatever the outcome of the changes in the middle east, in egypt and elsewhere, the interesting thing is that
particularly in the case of egypt it totally discredited the al qaeda theme that only violence can get rid of these authoritarian governments in the region, and so i think that the events in the middle east as trouble some as they may prove to be for us .. have had a positive effect of undermining one of the principle appeals of al qaeda and the terrorists that only violence can do these things. now, syria clearly is a different case when we know that al qaeda and other extremists are involved in the opposition, how big of a role they are playing we don't know. i don't think, maybe we have learned a lot more in a year plus since i have been gone, but i don't think they are a big player. so i think -- i think that as in
iraq, they way over played their hand and one of the things that led to the anbar uprising was the viciousness of al qaeda in iraq in killing iraqis, and so i think that -- but you see this sectarian violence in pakistan and elsewhere, you know, there is a lot of -- i think there are a lot of bumps in the road ahead, and one of my worries is, we are properly focused on our significant domestic problems here at home, our financial problems, but that world out there, i think just keeps getting more complex and in many respects more turbulent. >> the place that you served so well in the cia and most of your early career, has taken over different role it seems than it had in the past, it is not just intelligence gathering is that a trend that concerns you or do you welcome that and think that that stay role that the cia has
played and ought to play in a world in which big armies are not necessarily going to be the players? >> i think it is a question of balance, and the attention of the leadership. i think that, i don't see any inherent problem with cia having a paramilitary capability or having drones of its own, but i do have a problem if that is all the director is paying attention to. if the director isn't paying -- and the other covert activities as opposed too espionage and analysis, which used to be the two core competencies, if you will, of the agency, and those must not be weakened, because this is an era in which human intelligence is every bit as important as it ever was during the cold war. >> rose: every bit as it ever was. >> absolutely. >> rose: though we can see and picture and all of those kind of
things. >> it goes back to the question we discussed at the beginning, and that is our ability to divine people's intentions. >> rose: right. >> and if they are not talking to each other on a telephone, then it is very tough, if we don't have a human agent present or who has access to what those conversations are, it is very difficult to know what they are going to do. by the same token, analysis remains important in terms of being able to bring together this mosaic of information and i think in a way although it served a covert purpose, the kind of analysis remarkable analysis that went into identifying where bin laden was living in abbottabad was just an extraordinary analytical achievement by those folks out at the agency. >> rose: and speaking of that, i remember a conversation you and i had in williamsburg where you were the chancellor of william and mary which is a
part-time job. you told he that there was an agreement among the people who participated from the white house, from cia, from defense, not to talk about it, and it took five minutes. >> five or six hours. >> five or six hours and now we have had two books, a documentary, and soon to be released a major film about it. what is intriguing about it is two things, one is this took place in the decision making at the white house, the preparation by admiral and all of the people who serve under him and his participation, the fact you kept it secret from the pakastanis, and the fact that there was, according to all of these things, some extraordinary woman at the cia who somehow was the person who understood the link to finding out where osama bin laden was in abbottabad, and was
a courier, does that make sense to you, have you followed these stories? >> i have followed them. and i mean to be honest about it, what i knew was that there was a team of analysts working this at cia, and that had been working it for some time, i never -- i don't recall ever sort of having someone at one of the meetings who was sort of fingered as she or he is the one that really came up with this as opposed to -- as opposed to a team of people. >> rose: and yet when you got there, in that room, when you -- tell me, as we close this out, because it is such a dramatic moment, what was going through your mind as you sat there with the president and the vice president and the secretary of state? and -- >> i have to tell you there is a funny aspect to this. so a few hours after that, iconic photograph of this was
released i got a photoshopped version of it with all of us in superhero costumes. so the president was superman, biden was spider-man, hillary naturally was wonder woman and for some reason i was the green lantern. but first of all, i nearly had an aneurysm when the helicopter went down. because i had been sitting in the west wing of the white house in 1980 during the iranian hostage rescue mission when the helicopter went down. and so, you know, my first reaction, is, oh, no, not again, but the team, the equipment, the training, all dramatically different. and we were really out of -- you know, we had no idea what was going on inside the house once they went inside the house. until, until we got the coded message. >> that was it? what did you think when you heard that?
>> well, you know, there was no -- there was no -- there was probably a sigh of relief in the room, but there was really no letdown or no high fives or anything like that. because we still had to get them all out of pakistan and in a way, the diceyest part of the mission still was in front of us and that was getting everybody out safely, and so, really, it wasn't -- i think there is just -- in some ways there was so much emotion in the room that there was no manifestation of it, there wasn't any of the kind of handshaking or, you know, kind of we got him or anything like that. it was just sort of a sense, you know, of -- i think also a sense of closure that ten years on we had fine my done what president bush said we would do, which was get this guy. >> rose: thank you for coming. it is great to see you. >> always good to see you.
>> when will the memoir be ready? >> well it goes to the publisher in february. >> rose: thank you again. >> thank you. >> rose: bob gates. thank you for joining us. see you next time. >> rose: funding for charlie rose has been provided by the coca-cola company, supporting this program since 2002. and american express. initial funding provided by these funders.