Interview With Admiral Mullen

Interview With Admiral Mullen
April 3rd, 2009  
Team Infidel

Topic: Interview With Admiral Mullen

Interview With Admiral Mullen
April 2, 2009

Today (NBC), 7:00 AM
MATT LAUER: Admiral Mike Mullen is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Admiral Mullen, it's great to have you here. Good morning to you.
LAUER: Admiral, Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, made a comment. He said right now the economic crisis we're facing is perhaps a greater threat to our nation or national security than terrorism. I'm wondering if unwittingly, he didn't turn up heat and put more pressure on this G-20 Summit, because if the administration comes away without a major headline or a major agreement, does it seem as though they may have failed the first test on national security?
MULLEN: Well, I think Admiral Blair expressed a concern that I've had as well as to this global financial crisis, maybe not in just the next few weeks, but in the months, and obviously, depending on the duration, could have a significant effect on stability around the world.
And I think that creates an additional sense of urgency with resolving that as rapidly as we can.
LAUER: So, then, take that one step further. What groups or what nations do you see who might try to take advantage of this global economic crisis and the instability you just talked about to sow the seeds of chaos?
MULLEN: Well, when I've talked about this, I've put it in two categories -- areas that we might be able to predict and also areas of the world that would be unpredictable. We're not very good at predicting the future with respect to where unrest often breaks out, but my concern is, as governments struggle to take care of their people that those shortfalls could result in increased pressures on those governments to provide for their people, and that will increase the level of instability. And it is from my perspective --
LAUER: You're not naming names, though.
MULLEN: No, because I really don't have any specific names right now, but I think we need to be aware of it.
LAUER: And President Karzai looking for some more support in Afghanistan from places like France and Germany. Do we want military support? Do we want manpower? Do we want money? What's the essential ingredient right now?
MULLEN: If I were to pick one -- we certainly want those things, but probably the most important support we could use right now is support in the civilian area. We need a significant increase in the number of civilians to provide help in ministries in Afghanistan, but also to provide help in the economy. So, that aspect of moving forward together is really critical, and we haven't had that today.
LAUER: Let me turn to troop levels in Afghanistan. During the campaign, then-candidate Obama talked about possibly adding 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. A couple weeks ago, he settled on 17,000, then 4,000 more last week, and he said he reserves the right to perhaps add as many as 10,000 more in the fall. I'm curious, these additional, the 21,000 right now that he's adding to Afghanistan, are those to help us stem the tide, hold our own against the Taliban, or with those additional troops, can the U.S. forces go on a major offensive against the Taliban?
MULLEN: Well, actually, it is really two pieces. The 17,000 are very much focused on turning the tide, specifically with respect to the violence level, and providing security for the Afghan people. As far as our future in Afghanistan is concerned, I really feel the center of gravity is the Afghan people, and we've got to get to a point where they feel secure. But 4,000 on top of the 17,000 are principally focused on training. The exit strategy in Afghanistan is to have them provide for their own security -- their police, their army and those 4,000 troops will be focused on that.
LAUER: So, at this stage, that is how you would describe the mission today in Afghanistan, to train the Afghan forces so they can provide their own security?
MULLEN: That is a big piece of it. The President was very clear in the overall mission which is eventually to defeat al Qaeda in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and providing security for the Afghan people is a big part of that at this point.
LAUER: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, it's an honor to have you here. Thanks for spending time with us.

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