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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  January 9, 2013 12:00pm-1:00pm PST

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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
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>> rose: general stanley mcchrystal is here. he's written a new memoir called "my share of the task." mcchrystal was to the military born, a west point graduate like his father before him let the joint operations command from 203 to 2008. his says included the capture of saddam hussein. he is credited by many with that transformed special forces into what they are today. in june 2009 he became commander of the u.s. forces in isaf in afghanistan where he pursued a strategic of counterinsurgency. that assignment would be his last in the military, an article called the run away general which appeared in rolling stone magazine in june 2010 forced his resignation. >> the war is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a
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private, a general or a president. as difficults a it is to lose general mcchrystal i believe it is the right thing to do for our security. the conguk in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general. it under mines the civilian control of the military that is at the core on our democratic system. and it erodes the trust that's necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in afghanistan. >> rose: i am pleased to have general stanley mcchrystal back at this table. welcome. >> thank you charlie. >> rose: i want to go from today to there and all the way back to west point. there has been an investigation of what happened in the conversation. what was the result of that investigation? >> without the exact quote, and i do cover it in a book, the department department of defense inspector
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general's office could not substantiate many of the articles in the book and the depiction it gave my team and our conduct. >> rose: that was after you resigned. >> a number of months after i resigned. >> rose: why couldn't that have taken place before a resignation? >> when the article came out in june of 2010, it immediately ignited a media controversy. and i could tell as soon as i saw it that that was going to happen. and i was commanding a mission for president obama as commander in chief, and my mission was to make that effort in afghanistan succeed. it was also implied in that mission in my view not to create controversies that made the president's job harder. and so whether or not i thought that that article was a fair and accurate depiction or not i'm responsible. i accepted responsibility
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because that's what commands do and that's what i was raised to do. i had no recitation to do that. >> rose: but there's this. i talked to fortunater secretary of defense robert gates about this. he says to me that i wanted stan to stay. he didn't give me anything to keep him there which means i think you just fell on your sword. >> charlie i accepted responsibility. all of this happened in about a 24 hour period. there really wasn't time even for me to do the kind of investigation on the things there that i thought were probably warranted. i thought it was most important that i stand up and take responsibility. if the truth gets sorted out later that's good. but the mission is more important. >> rose: some argued the mix was more important and by resigning, you did the thing that you most feel bad about. you had to leave the mission unsuccessful. and really what would have been
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the wiser and more honorable thing to do was to stay on the mission. really you thought about that. >> of course. and i offered president obama of course, i said i would be happy to stay or i would offer my resignation, which i did. and he selected -- >> rose: but you didn't make the case for staying. you didn't try to clear the facts up. >> i did not feel it was time to argue. i think there were times you accept responsibility and you move on. >> rose: two thing that had happened before. one there was a leaked memo from afghanistan. how did that happen, and do you think that created some clash between the commander and afghanistan and the commander in chief in the whitehouse. >> there was, we had submitted a strategic assessment at the very end of august in 2009 that secretary gates had asked us to do. and that about three week later
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about the 20th of september, that leaked, that leaked in washington. i didn't leak it and my staff didn't leak it. >> rose: no one from your staff leaked it. >> no. >> rose: someone in washington. for what purpose? >> it is, it's difficult for me to read the intentions of someone i don't know. it certainly was damaging because what it did was, what was a secure classified communication very candid assessment of the situation and recommendations ahead. it leaked that publicly before the president and his team and the president of defense had a time to digest it and therefore the decision-making process instead of being done in a calm way, had that sort of glare of publicity on it. >> rose: it looks like in some cases this was, although it had not, it was a general trying to influence the public debate in washington. >> it was not the case.
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>> rose: would you agree some people might have assumed that. >> i assumed some can. >> rose: it had poisoned the water between the general and the commander in chief. >> i don't think between myself and president obama. i think that there was less trust between department of defense, parts of it, and the new administration that i would have liked to see. i think it really went back to the very beginning from inauguration on. and i think that that trust is something that -- >> rose: from the very beginning, from the inauguration. >> yes. >> rose: what do you mean by that. >> if you go back and get context. the situation in afghanistan when i came out of iraq and came on the joint staff the summer of 2008, it was getting worse. we had elections coming in the united states and then they had elections in afghanistan. my predecessor in afghanistan
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general mckernen asked for some troops in 2008. it was decided not to act on that request on the last months of president bush's administration and there was some ongoing assessments. when president obama assumed office with his team in january of 2009, in fact that request was tabled in front of him. and now we have a new administration who has been in the campaign rhetoric supportive of the war in afghanistan. they're faced with a larger quest for troops, faster than they might have liked to be comfortable and time to die just that. they're also hit with a financial crises when it first took over. and so the first response i think is to say well give us time to assess this. but instead, the military department of defense appropriately says we've got afghan elections approaching in the summer and if these forces are going to van impact to help widen security, they have to be approved quickly.
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and so you have this perceived pressure on the part feeling pressure in the whitehouse and you have department of defenses trying to do a mission as they understand they've been given in trying to have the necessary resources. i don't think there was anybody trying to do their own thing. i don't think there was any ill intent, but it was natural pressure. then you had the added difference in cultures. and it takes a while to build trust. you think a new team is put together, an administration's a new team. not only is the new team on the field but within that team, they figure out the roles. then you have the integration between department of defense and the military services. and a new administration, which always takes time. so all of these things came together and they put pressure that made it hard. >> rose: you had also the same secretary of defense extending for another year bob gates. >> this was very helpful. secretary gates was able to work through a lot of this and make it more functional but it was still hard. >> rose: you recommended how
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many troops. what was the nature of the recommendation in the memorandum? >> well, the first request that general mckernen had tabled for 34,000 was partially failed. in the summer i was and to do a 60 day assessment, provide my recommendations on what we ought to do in afghanistan and also then request whatever resources might go with that. i did the assessment in the summer of 2009 myself and my staff and we did a very careful job and i think we produced a very accurate and candid document. we submitted that at the end of august of 2009. we didn't request resources with that document because i had requested or recommended in that document that we change our strategy in afghanistan. >> rose: from what to what. >> that we focus on attacking what i considered was the biggest problem and that was the lack of confidence on the part of the afghan people. the biggest problem was a lack
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of confidence on the part of the afghan people and then problems, shore cummings in governance. >> rose: the problem that persists today. >> it does. >> rose: you thought this was the problem rather than request more troops at the time. >> i thought that, if you didn't believe that that was the problem and understand that was the problem, i said don't authorize my more forces because if you don't get the strategy right more resources won't matter. so we gave the strategic assessment with our recommendation, and then we followed that with, it says if you accept the recommendations to change the strategy, these are the resources we believe would be required to execute that strategy given the situation. >> rose: that was 60,000 troops. >> it was 40,000 forces. when i entered afghanistan in the summer of 2009, i don't think we needed more forces. and it was only through that summer i did a listing, i traveled around, i good a tremendous amount of analysis with my staff, and only when i saw the deteriorating situation and we went through what it
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would take to arrest what was viewed as taliban momentum, and to give ourselves a bridge force to give us time to build up afghan security forces did i reluctantly come to the conclusion we're going to need more western forces, probably mostly american. we came up with detailed analysis on what we had to secure to be effective, and the requirement was for 40,000 forces. and so we recommended that which followed not long after our strategic assessment. >> rose: after the number of troops had already come in because of mckernen. >> yes. some of those forces hadn't yet arrived. >> rose: then you went to london. >> yes. >> rose: and you make a speech. the speech is okay. then there's a q&a session. >> yes. >> rose: and you say what. >> rose: i went to london at the request of the british government to engage parts of both their media and their government to explain the strategy. at that time we were executing a strategy that i had derived a mission strategy i derived from
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president obama's public statements his speeches in the spring when he authorized more forces and my understanding of what it is my mission was which had begun by general mckern i been to have a counterinsurgency focus and stabilize to the point we can realistically. so i gave a very short talk at this event. in the q&a session a person asked me whether i thought a, i think he used the term ct strategy which is direct action rage which would be enough, it would be smaller forces. >> rose: is that what we call a terrorismism strategy. >> we tend to at though i think it's a misnomer truly direct action rages. i think what he meant and he asked me if i thought that that would be sufficient 678 i has been doing in operations for years -- and i didn't. >> rose: did not think it was appropriate for afghanistan or enough. >> that's right. i didn't think it was enough and i didn't think it was enough for
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the mission that president obama had laid out for me. i believed that he wanted afghan sovereignty and the growth of the government to be protective. that's what i understood. so i described, i said i don't think that is enough. i think if you are going to achieve stability in afghanistan, and i think that we should, then i think it's going to take a wider approach. >> rose: in that q&a was vice president biden. >> there was none to vice president by issue. >> rose: the perception was the vice president did not think a counterinsurgency tactic was right for afghanistan and believed counterstorm using sort of common parlances was more appropriate less troops and a more focused effort to go at al-qaeda which is what you had done in iraq. >> interesting. what i had done in iraq only
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really matured to full effectiveness when the counterinsurgency strategy came in with general petraeus married together then we started to have real effect. i had pretty strong feelings if we're going to succeed in afghanistan we had to do both. a reporter said i was criticized in vice president biden's concept. i didn't know that was vice president by i's position. i wasn't trying to criticize i was trying to explain to a british audience why we were pursuing a counterinsurgency effort. >> rose: you had no idea this was ladened with possibilities of being misunderstood the way you expressed it. >> no, i didn't. >> rose: so you had those two things leak, troop numbers then you had a london speech which is
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mispercepted as an attack of vice president biden. that's there when this rolling stone incident comes up. do you think the three of them kind of came together? >> i think everything is cumulative. i think that the lack of trust, it hadn't matured enough in the spring when i was still on the joint staff and the concerns between the whitehouse and department of defense over the troop number because there was a fair amount of angst over those in the beginning of 2009 before i went to afghanistan. then this march, and we had this mary vents. we have a terioring situation in afghanistan. the strategic assessment i provided in august was not fun reading. for a new administrationor for a new anybody or for countries -- >> rose: you paint a picture that was more drastic and dramatic than they imagined. >> yes. i said and i think the words were the situation is serious and it is deteriorating. and to this day i think i was absolutely accurate in that. and i said we are going to have
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to take actions. the status quo line of effort won't work. >> rose: lots of way to go here but afghanistan is back in the center because karzai's in washington this week to see the president and others. there's consideration of how many troops will remain after 2014. what do you believe if you had gotten direct force, you could have done, what was the goal that you thought was obtainable over a number of years. >> sure. what we believed, what i believed had to happen in the time i got there was first to change the thinking of people in afghanistan, afghans, who were terrified in the summer of 2009 about what they saw, the deteriorating situation. and they thought many perceived that the united states in particular but the west was
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really unconcerned about afghanistan. civilian casualties represented a cavalier attitude. they felt we were fighting our war against al-qaeda on their terrain. and they were not being considered. and so we had to change afghan perceptions that in fact we were their partner, we were there to protect them and that that was something we were going to stick to. we also had to change attitudes with our partners in nato, we had to convinc people this could be done. and that with the right approach we could do it. we had to change attitudes in pakistan. we had to convince the pakistani government and populous that a stable afghanistan not under a taliban rule was in their interest and that the nato istaff mission was achievable because it was one thing for the pakistanis to generally wish we would succeed but in the summer of 2009 they didn't believe we could or would and they were
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hedging their bets to avoid paying the price if we didn't. of course we had to affect the american populous. we had to show parents where their sons and daughters were in a very difficult war a long way away. the first thing we had to was change people's attitude and say this is a new ball game. we're going to do this more seriously. we are going to do this right. we are going to focus and we are going to take everybody's interests into account. we can succeed and we will succeed. >> rose: success would be defined as? >> an afghanistan that could defend it's own sovereignty. i did not think it was our mission to craft a perfect afghanistan. i thought it was our aspiration, our goal to create a strong enough afghan security force, stable enough relations with pakistan, and hopefully a legitimate and credible enough afghan government that it could hold together as a national state protected sovereignty. not perfectly. it will still have to do computer and counterinsurgency. >> rose: you have expressed
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some sense of unease about politics and military mixing. in afghanistan that's whopper doing. you were taking on the responsibility that with the politics and the military we can't win. >> charlie, that's great. that's right. of course it was
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for you. >> as i wrote in the book and as i thought about writing this book, did i change. i had studied counterinsurgency when i was a cadet at west point. i had been sphals nated i wrote a long paper on the french and indochina. i think at heart good leaders are problem solvers and my period in joint special operations command for almost five years, my mission was to help tear apart the al-qaeda network, across the region. most violently in iraq but also other areas as well. so what i had to do to do my share of the task was to go
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after that network as efficiently as i could, dismantel it and let other things do their part as we go forward. in iraq we did that for several years and we were remarkably effective, excuse me, we were remarkably lethal, we were, we got up in 2006 to 300 raids a month. ten a night. just extraordinary. but it really wasn't until the other part of emm5 or the mission the counterinsurgency part holding terrain that our operations really started to have their full effect. before that we would do things but we were back. when we had the complementary effort of conventional forces and other government agencies -- >> rose: that includes petraeus and the surge as well as the awakening. >> that's correct. >> rose: all of those things. >> and also some better diplomatic things. ryan -- all those pieces. suddenly what we did made a big difference strategically. >> rose: so you had, because what i'm interested in is when you got to afghanistan, you had
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the basic fundamental ideas you thought were necessary but you seemed to have built on them and you realized at some point and maybe this was in iraq but you can't kill all the terrorists and in the end achieve what you want to do. that killing everybody is not going to get you there. something else has to get you there. >> that is the key point. when i went to afghanistan, my mission was to accomplish the mission given to me by the secretary of general nato and also by president obama and that is to solve the problem. if i had come to the conclusion that i could maneuver armor divisions and crush the taliban and kill them all that was the best way i'd have done that. i came to the conclusion that the only way we succeed is giving the support of the afghan people because that's really where the taliban grows, that's where support comes. that's who decides who wins. it's interesting when i put in many of the directives that i did limiting the use of force, being very careful with air power so we didn't kill afghans,
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we were realizing we were so sowing things like our own failure. >> rose: and casualties. >> we had no idea how much the afghans resent that. from afar we say civilians get killed and that's tough. that's not how afghans view it. if they see for example an american air strike. when you go back to 2001 of gages saw americans come in to topple the afghan government and they saw precise air strikes and came away with two conclusions. our intelligence is perfect and we are lethality is precise. then they would see an air strike later that would kill afghan civilians and they would go back to their previous frame and go one of two things is true. either the americans are trying to kill civilians or they're
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just casual and they just don't care. >> rose: those reasons would make them like americans. >> that's right. and there's this growing feeling that the taliban's not as big a problem as this elephant america that goes around stomping on our compounds killing our people. so i came to the conclusion the only way we could succeed is change the way we operate. the only way we could succeed is make the afghan people believe we're on their side and protecting them. convince them that it's in their interest, they will be better off with us. >> rose: are we closer to that goal or farther away from that goal? as we approach the last two years. >> of course charlie i'm not there now so i've got a caveat. i was back there about a year ago i took andy back and we visited. so i don't want to give expertise of a situation i don't have. but i would say one of the biggest problems that still remains is afghans are still
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uncertain. afghans are still scared. >> rose: scared of what. >> scared of the future. they're scared that the americans are going to leave. some are scared the americans aren't going to leave. they're scared of the taliban, they're scared of predatory governments. if you go back to afghanistan's history and you go back to 1979 when the soviets entered in and actually a coup in 1978 there hasn't been normal in that country for 34 years. when you say think back to the good old days you're more than 34 years old before you could even remember a good old day. the life expectancy of of began is something like 45. so not that many people. so the society's been torn, it's been shaken upside down, it's been turned inside out and people are trying to figure out how it works again. they're trying to pull together traditional structures, are relationships, religious
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structures. they're trying to put on top of that the government that the at geament in 2001 put in. and those pieces haven't fit together then. then you have irresponsible behavior on a number of people in afghanistan, predatory warlords and things like that. >> rose: and deep corruption. >> that's what i meant. it just absolutely insenses the afghan people. if you ask an afghan in a part of the country you say what most scares you, the first thing they would tell me is war on our turf. we'd rather have you here but if we can't have you here, we'd rather have the taliban here. what we don't want is both of you here fighting in the neighborhood. and then the other thing that terrifies them is neither of those there and predatory warlords who absolutely take apart revenge on people. >> rose: do you believe some kind of negotiation with the taliban is possible? at this stage. >> i think it is inevitable. i'm not sure that the taliban is
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a cohesive enough force or structure to pull themselves together and negotiate as a single entity. i don't know that there's any leader that could deliver all the taliban. in some ways that's good because they're weaker than many people perceive. they're not a national liberation front, they're not deeply supported by the people. >> rose: that percentage -- >> on the other hand it's hard to cut a deal when you don't know who to cut a deal with. we've got to bring that part of the population, most of it's with the government, we've got to bring that part in. you can't leave any significant part of the population out or inevidence me you're going to have a problem sometime in the future. >> rose: in the even as you look towards 2014 you believe we should leave 10,000 troops there? >> i won't put a number on it because i just haven't done enough analysis. i know that president obama has
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offered a strategic partnership to the afghan people, the afghan government. i think that to me what that means is to give them a sent of reassurance, a sense of certainty that if things really are difficult from external threats or otherwise, that we would be there as an ally. i think that what's going to have to happen is we'll have to decide what we want to accomplish, if we want to just support the training of afghan troops or building of institutions you can do that in a few locations it wouldn't take a lot of people. if you have wider aspirations to put advisors at farther levels either civilian or military or you decide to provide medical support, medevac aircraft which takes a lot of bases to do, whatever you decide, the matt math goes up very quickly. if you want to put them out in remote locations you have two choices you either accept risk
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which is not an irrational thing or you put an infrastructure of fire support communications medical evacuation, hospitals and all of those thing to support them, which takes a significant number of people and places. once you do that, you start to get much larger footprint than some people might think when they throw numbers around. >> rose: in the end, will this war which the president has called not a war of necessity but they call it a war of necessity. in the end will history judge this a failed mission? >> i think we don't know that yet. >> rose: what are the odds? >> i think that there is every possibility that afghanistan can succeed in a as soon as that afghanistan is a sovereign country with an afghan consubstitution. it is not under the control of a taliban dominated government. i think that there is every
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potential that the capacity exists right now for them to do that. the challenge will be can the government and to a lesser degree the military and police because i think they are rapidly building that capacity, can those two entities build enough legitimacy of the people to give that kind of commitment. i don't think it's a guarantee, i think that that has got to be proven and that's -- >> rose: many people including some journal it's i respect look at the circumstances and say it's almost impossible. >> i just share is a different view. i think the afghans are more resillient and adaptable. >> rose: some people look at it from -- okay. iraq. you go to iraq and you get there and you say we had a would be store and we became what was and what was that sort of art in which you essentially defined what is an
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important element, you gave definition to which has become an important element of america employment of force. >> i was part of a team that did that. >> rose: always that's what the leadership's about. >> exactly. what we did was we had this wonderful force that was a little like a bullet. if the intelligence was provided to us and someone made a decision when to pull a trigger and we were aimed at the right location, that this force, this counterterrorists force would go in and create great effects, great presix and great -- precision and great speed. the apparatus didn't exist to provide us that understanding or provide us quickly enough learning in each step. instead of being this wonderful entity that sits behind glass until they break it you go we realize we have to be an intelligence organization that did intel just operations. >> rose: in the deliverance of different information from
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all sources and analyze and comparing it. >> that's right. >> rose: all that. >> you couldn't go get a little. you had to get intelligence, from human intelligence, from signals intelligence, computer intelligence, from watching overhead surveillance isr what we called it things like predators and whatnot. not only did you use all that you fused it together in real time. that came from multiple agencies, national security agencies intelligence department of state, federal bureau of investigation and you had to gather all this in real time not just in one spot but distribute it in real time everywhere. you had to enable the force so it wasn't centralized decision making so as soon as they had enough information to act they had authority and confidence to do that act. then when they got instead of being, everybody being happy we did this the whole purpose was to get more intelligence. it would have to die just
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intelligence. some of our teams would do great raids and gather materials, computers phones documents and things like that. these plastic garbage bags ane a pile of bags that weren't open. we got all this intelligence and nobody's sitting there translating. within a couple years the team would know what they're going for. the purpose was not to kill people, the purpose was to get more information on the networks so we could dismantle it. so they get on the target and the first thing they'd do is start collecting information. they would collect information from detainees if there were any. they would do biometric screens of other people around who may not be detainees but just to
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learn who is there. from any teller you collected documents that social of thing collected from computers and we'd send it back immediately. the first list of that would go electronically from the target in minutes. and it wouldn't just go to our headquarters it would also go all the way back to dc where you had these organizions ready to tie just and big types in. so what we're doing is digesting all this on information and people at multiple locations are all part of it. we've got people in dc who are watching that in real time. they don't come in on monday morning saying did anything happen. they're talking in real time and when we get back to the headquarters they lay all this information out. the video teleconference and we start saying what do we got with people back. suddenly you don't have a few people doing something and other people are asleep and doing whatever they do. you got this big network that is living and breathing almost as one.
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and information flows like blood through arteries in your body. and it empowers, it energizes, makes more people feel like it and suddenly this thing becomes a coil spring ready to move faster. we in the beginning of the war, we do a raid and sometimes we'd get information that might take us a week or two to digest that yet again. >> rose: it also brings into play something you had spoken about which is new members of the team, men and women who are not traditional warriors, but who have the respect of traditional warriors because they bring analytical ability and background and understanding of culture. and the capacity to analyze dhawt. and they're important to the twoirs because with that information they can do their job better. who are these people. >> well, if you think about it, we were in a society of operators, special operators,
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big knuckle, big shouldered kind of guys. and you have a cultural give of these people. and they're wonderful. but to get in that culture, if you don't look the part, if you don't talk the same way or what not is challenging. and suddenly you bring in 22 year told analysts weighs 98 pounds soaking wet or you bring in a 25 year old guy out of college and he's got several metals pierced through him and he's at the table with the operators. he's intimidated by the operators and the operators are dismissive of them. suddenly you give them an opportunity to show their expertise and build more expertise. i would come in and see round tables. i would see a young person pointing at an operator like this. he's much taller stronger and that sort of thing and saying this is what we got to do this is how it's got to be and sometimes argue is all together. but they all became more like each other because what they did -- >> rose: influenced each
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other. >> that's right. they became so focused on a single mission that some of the most valuable players, the different teams they had around would fight over great intel analysts or they would fight over a great imagery analysts or something like this. they'd want jane doe because juicy just amazing. we saw her in last rotation we want here out here. or an interrogator maybe he's a 62-year-old guy they want him because he makes stuff happen. >> rose: those are the people that led you to -- >> a combination of those. that's exactly right. it was this team effort. >> rose: how did you find him? how long did you search for him? >> we knew about him even before the invasion. >> rose: he is the al-qaeda leader in iraq. >> we started going after him hard after january in 2004, we went after him in -- and the spring of 2004. we went after him through that year. there would be periods when he would rise up a little and
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disappeared a couple times. >> rose: went after him mean what? >> well we focused intelligence as much as we could. every time we gut a lead. in february of 05 we almost got him. we found out he was in a vehicle moving and we had overhead but when the predator had to changed its focal length of its camera, they missed a moment. there was no helping it, he pulled into a cul-de-sac and got out and the vehicle continued on. the vehicle went on and we inter cepted the vehicle got his computer got his weapon didn't get him. >> rose: did you learn something from that. >> well we did. we were getting better by then but it was all about knitting more intelligence together getting multiple assets up. >> rose: would you have tortured someone who had situation that would lead you to him. >> no. >> rose: if he could have
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lead you to -- because you were prepared to kill his family and him at the same time. that's the difference. >> i think there's a big difference. but i thought an awful lot about that. in the spring of 2004, i brought all my commanders together in afghanistan and made them watch the battle of algiers and brought an expert in. the purpose was i had come to the conclusion that some people say torture doesn't work. i don't know if it works or not. >> rose: you don't know? >> i think sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. >> rose: to work mean getting information you need. >> yes some people say you get bad information. the point is i think both are true sometimes you do and sometimes you don't. the realty is the effect it has on you. when you become the torturer, something happens to that force. i think it has a corrosive effect over time. i think you move down a path that's difficult to come back
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from. and i think that happens to individuals involved and i think it happens to the force. if you mapped a situation where someone had an atomic bomb in new york city and we had one guy who knew where it was, would we torture him? >> rose: that's the hard question. but what would you do. >> the question is i don't know because i have never been in that situation. >> rose: you don't know. >> i don't know. >> rose: the question is, i'm trying to understand this. this really is a big question. >> yes. >> rose: it is do you torture, i mean don't you torture as a moral equation to this. a memory equation the fact that you can save lots of lives but on the other hand there's the question of do you know that you can get the information. that's the hard question. if you do this will you get the information. it's easier although the moral dimension is there, if you do it the you know you can get the information. >> even if you know it's difficult. >> rose: that's the moral issue is still there.
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even if you know you can get information and save lives. it does something stew. >> yes. >> it does something to you and the force. look of look what -- i don't think it was formal in the sense it was casual cruelty by misguided young americans. but look what it did in the world. i don't know how many foreign fighters we captured or killed because of abey grail. >> rose: that's the america we think you are and that's why we got this. >> it's met all their preconceptions. >> rose: the other argument away from this is that smart interrogation in which you develop relationships nine times out of ten well get. >> absolutely. that's when we eventually -- >> rose: using information you have so you think you know more than you do etcetera etcetera. >> all of those things. but building a relationship, the
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tainy that led us to -- we had for a number of days but we bill up a relationship and it was not coercive at all. it was a constant build of relationship between some interrogators very talented and this individual who finally decided to provide the information. >> rose: because. >> for a number of reasons. one he was upset about his brother. his brother had fled the country. i think he was going through a moral question on al-qaeda, all these different pieces of it. there are lots of reasons. it's hard to say exactly but it was not because he was mistreated. >> rose: so here you are with this remarkable experience. one of the interesting things about your life is at west point you were the editor of the pointer. >> right. >> rose: a literary magazine. here's. guy hoofs the editor of the literary magazine thinking that
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you would be the life of the military because you were at west point and your father had been a general. early on, you were said to have been rather anti-authoritarian is one way of expressing it. recalcitrant would be another way. how would you describe your life. >> ill disciplined would probably be right. >> rose: all of that. and you were attracted to the idea of special forces. because? >> i thought that small teams doing unique things with a lot of ability, autonomy would be attractive to me. and i found that it was. >> autonomy is crucial. >> freedom of action. >> rose: yes. so you build on that. you're in iraq, you come back, you go back, you're there, you build as we said, the special forces became and is a success. and they do these missions every night as they will tell you.
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and what was said to me what we did in pakistan with osama bin laden we had 13 of those every night for one time or another. is that the future of war that are -- warfare. >> i will give a caution we don't think operations is eyes for all things. iraq in 2007 and 08 is because we had conventional forces. i'm afraid someone will start to think that special forces is everything. but what i really think the future of special forces wouldn't be all and shouldn't be. i think the winner of the next war is the person who knows the most and it's the person who learn the fastest. i don't think we know what the next war will be like. i think all sides, like ieds in this war. who predicted that. it's who hits the change and who
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adapts most quickly. the conservative force that is stuck in its doctrine, the hierarchical element that requires it to go up 18 layers before you can change anything. isn't going to be well positioned to make the kinds of changes and to use the initiative of young leaders out on the ground who have to make that kind of decision. so i think the future of warfare's going to be whoever is very adaptive, whoever learns the area, one of the things we didn't do well enough in iraq or afghanistan is learn the language or learn the situation or develop processes where we understood the culture. we earn the enemy situation we knew that. what we didn't know was what was happening in the villages, what the political dynamics were and we still have room. >> rose: their head and their heart. >> yes. that's going to be the future of warfare in figuring that out. i think special forces broadly speaking special operating forces, that's going to be a lot of what they can do.
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very mature experts who develop this deep understanding of various areas and then instead of applying massive military power will then be able to provide more precise help either assistance to a country or if necessary a direct action. >> rose: part of what you do today is you try to help people understand leadership. what is it that people who come to you for understanding about leadership can learn. what do you tell them? >> i think the first thing about leadership is i try to describe in the book it's really getting the organization to do things. sometimes we mistake leadership for the leader and we want to be heroic leader, we want to be well paid, corner office. we want to be powerful. that's not the measure of effectiveness which is what the influence accomplishes. either what people can see what you do. it doesn't matter it's the
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effect you have and there are a lot of different ways to do it. what we try to teach them is the best thing you can do is empower people throughout your organization. we call it shared consciousness and purpose. what that mean we learn this particularly in iraq but across, if you pump information where you never thought you pumped it before you share venues instead of four people you teleconference at the 4,000. if. organization hears the senior leader i called it thinking out loud i would take an issue somebody gave me and i would speak out loud here's what i think you said here's how i understand it here's my inclination to a decision. all the people here is they have the context. and we true to help companies to do that and them we think that that is shared purpose. >> rose: so here you are at the end of the conversation. the book is my share of the task. why that title? >> well it's part of the ranger
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creed. i crew up in the rangers and the ranger creed is a six stanza promise that he makes to each ranger and to himself. one phrase of the book is and this was actually recommended to me by a young yale students who works with me he said call it my share of the task because it means i wasn't in charge. i didn't own it all. i was one person trying to make a contribution. and it means that i wasment everything but at the same time i had a responsibility and we all do. i believe it captures that pretty much. >> rose: you also have this epi graph. with weeping and with laughter still is a story told how well hoe ray scious kept the bridge in the brave days of old. and it's dedicated to those who kept the bridge and to those who made it possible. >> that's the famous story of hrofius who kept the bridge and
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they decided to stay on the far side of the bridge while the bridge was destroyed after roman forces had evacuated across it to protect the city. and horatius stayed last he let his comrades leave and he develop in the river and came out. it's a great storage of courage. there's also some stanzas that says romans was for each other in those days rome was a team. and actually complains that it's not that way anymore. now we bicker among ourselves now we can't compromise. and he uses horahius as an example of what we used to be and should be again. >> rose: in that mission you have to lever, it tears a hole in your heart and that expression's been used and you have acknowledged that this took something out of you to have to
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give up what you so believed is your mission and the mission of others who shared. >> right. >> rose: how do you deal with that question you must have asked yourself. >> yes. the first thing you don't feel sorry for yourself because when i go to bethesda and walter reed and i saw young servicemen who lost limbs or have been badly burned i say wait a minute a little hole in my heart doesn't compare to a young person's life is changed. so you don't do that. the second thing is you don't live in the past. you decide what kind of leader do you want to be. what did you want to be and what do you want to be. i tell people you very rarely have a choice about the past. it happened. but you do have a choice about the future. the day i resigned, was a very pain until day. it was humiliating, it was hard because i was afraid i'd let so many people down. i let the mission down, i let my
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wife down. but, the one thing i could control was the future. and what i could control was how people viewed me who used to believe in me, and if i acted in a way that acted as though i wasment the leader that i tried to be or that i acted like before, then they're going to lose a lot of faith. so i made the decision that day what i'm going to do, i'm going to be the best leader i can be every day. i'm not a perfect leader every day. you make mistakes you go down. the question is that's not the new standard you try to be every day. you try to rise yourself up into what you want to admire and you want others to admire not because you want to be rich and famous but because you want to look at yourself in the mirror. >> rose: thank you.
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stanley mcchrystal will be published this week. thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications
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captioned by media access group at wgbh
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>> the following kqed production was produced in high definition.
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[ ♪music ] >> yes, check, please! people. >> it's all about licking your plate. >> the food was just fabulous. >> i should be in psychoanalysis for the amount of money i spend in restaurants. >> i had a horrible experience. >> i don't even think we were in the same restaurant. >> leslie: and everybody, i'm sure, saved room for those desserts.