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tv   The David Rubenstein Show Peer to Peer Conversations  Bloomberg  May 7, 2017 10:00am-11:01am EDT

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♪ >> there were two incidents where you almost lost her life. over the a.m.nt trace. you showed of you could do push-ups. general petraeus, the only time i ever stopped at 50. you had never before had people working with you where you were killed in time that -- combat. the president calls and ask you to do something you do it. people would recognize me if my tie was fixed.
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david: i don't consider myself a journalist. no one else would consider myself a journalist. i began to take on being an interviewer, even though i had a day job. ?> how do you define leadership >> what is it that makes someone tick? david: you served our country very honorably for quite a while. now you're in something i consider a higher calling of mankind, private equity. how do you compare being in the military and leading troops to private equity? feel honoredeus: i
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to be in academia and speak in academia and speaking with startups and so forth. hard to tops pretty the extraordinary privilege of serving on the country in uniform, particularly if you are marine our soldiers in and combat. david: you are an avid exerciser. you're living in new york, the run around central park? general petraeus: do people recognize you. you can generally run unimpeded and unrecognized. if the veterans in this audience would please stand up so that we can recognize you and thank you for what you have done for our country in uniform.
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[applause] general praise i have often said that those that have served come all of them are volunteers and they raise the right-hand at the time of war knowing they would likely be asked to deploy. i have often described them as america's new greatest generation. tom brokawething shouted in my year after he saw our soldiers in the first year in basel. everything from combat to helping rebuild cities that have been damaged during the war, looting, all of these different tasks. he said the world war ii crowd was the greatest generation, but surely the young men and women are the new greatest generation.
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i very much believe that. david: let's talk about how you came into the military. your mother and father met at a .hurch service he stayed here during world war ii and became a commander of the it was. marine ship david: you grew up in new york city. general petraeus: i can run home from west point to and from. david: growing up, what was your .ickname general: i said peaches, that
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has stuck. there was a girl in the laundry who had been a high school friend of mine doing that as a summer job added she would send me notes in the laundry every week. i open it up and it said dear peaches. david: how to west point. you make an application. general petraeus: you write the congressman and you get nominated. -- david:u hadn't suppose you hadn't gotten in. have you ever thought how your life would be different? petraeus: at the end of two years at west point, i was in alaska mountain climbing in a training course. this was our summer training.
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then i went down to los angeles and a friend of mine who lived in the hills looking over los angeles had such an extraordinary experience, i decided should i really go back to west point or should i enjoy more of this. in the end, i went back, obviously. david: at west point, judy play on the soccer team? general trays. i play on the soccer team. -- general petraeus. trays: at west point, i was in the premed program. i loved that particular body of academic inquiry. i think it was also that it was the highest academic peak all of the sudden i found the senior the program.lot in i realized at that time that i wasn't absolutely certain that i
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truly wanted to be a dark i wanted to climb that mountain. i had a wonderful experience. you got married just a few weeks .fter you graduated general petraeus: it was a strange blind date. david: it was nerve-racking dating her? jennifer trays: we tried to do that clandestinely for a while. classmates away from the crowd said my son-in-law my son-in-law. i took a little flat. graduated and went into infantry. you were working your way up and there were two incidents that occurred where you almost lost her life, not in combat.
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general per trays: it was a live fire drill. we were following a one star general. we were walking behind the soldiers and one of them knocked out a bunker and a spot of it and tripped and fell down. we think as he did, he probably an m-16 round going to my chest. luckily it went over the a in petraeus. david: what happened? mr. petraeus: obviously medics start working on you. interestingly, shock sets in. i initially said, don't worry, just do a quick after action review to figure out what was wrong. they were rolling their eyes. they get an iv running. you get a medevac aircraft in.
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they pick me up. keene went with me. we went into the hospital. it had picked an artery, but did not sever it. the doctor turned to me and said this was going to hurt. he took a scalpel and cut and ,sk in my side down to the ribs held it back, and shoved a plastic to into the lung. that is what saved my life. i was put in a helicopter and flown down to the medical center. of all people, they called in the surgeon on call, dr. bill frist. he came in later as the majority leader of the senate. some people jokingly said, the -- the trias was dying to meet bill frist. he did thoracic surgery and i was out of the hospital in five or six days.
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david: to get out of the hospital, you didn't want them they didn't -- they didn't want you to leave so you did push-ups to show them you were ok. mr. petraeus: the only time i ever stopped at 50. no. [laughter] david: i have never gotten to 50. mr. petraeus: i wanted to get out of there. things were fine. there was no reason to keep hanging around. i was doing laps around the hospital. i will put all my tubes in a wheelchair and push it around. i think it was driving them crazy. david: the other incident was you were skydiving. your parachute did not quite work. you broke your pelvis. what is that like? general petraeus: it was horrific. that was worse in terms of pain because it fractured front and rear. your body is in two parts. anything that touches, and i rode in an ambulance all the way in, and every single crack in the street was agony. david: did you ever skydive after that?
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general petraeus: i was told by the army, he said, dave, no more skydiving. i said, ok. you give me division command, and i will quit skydiving. david: they gave you command. mr. petraeus: i was very privileged. david: you have had people working before for you in combat. general petraeus: it is a chilling experience. when a soldier is killed, it takes the wind out of you. ♪
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♪ david: you had a number of important jobs in the military and ultimately a decision was made by president bush to invade iraq. you became a commander there and went over there as the first part of the military that went into that. it was supposed to be relatively
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quick. when did you realize this wasn't going to be as easy as we thought ? gen. petraeus: we did in a matter of weeks top of the regime. there was stiffer fighting along the way at various points. what was predicted by a variety of folks prior to the invasion, which was that iraq the units were all going to surrender and come over to our side and help us establish order did not prove out. there was tough fighting along the way. i had this sense fairly early on, certainly within the first week, once that dust storm blew through, and i had rick atkinson, the washington post reporter, pulitzer prize winner, ride in the back of my humvee, and i remember turning to him at one point and asking, tell me how this ends? i'm not sure this is going to go according to script. the idea that we are going to topple saddam and his management and everybody else will stay in place and we will hand it over to them, obviously.
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david: do you think it would have been different if we decided not to get rid of the entire saddam army? gen. petraeus: these were huge mistakes. we used to have a question when i was division commander, it asked, will this operation take more bad guys off the street then it creates? the same is two and policies. the fact is that hiring the military without telling them what the future was, this means taking tens of thousands of able, and there is no reconciliation process agreed. you have created tens of thousands of people whose incentive is to oppose iraq. david: you lead the effort to take control of mosul. general petraeus we were in : baghdad, which is where we were told we were going to end up. we got this emergency order to go to mosul. it is out of control.
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there was a small u.s. unit up there 17 civilians killed in response to a riot. within about 36 hours or so we , did one of the biggest aerosols in history up to mosul. we immediately blanketed the city with soldiers. we literally pushed right into the city, calmed it down, and stop the looting and the rest of that, and gradually took control. we had an interim government out there within two weeks of arriving. david: early on in the war, it was thought that shock and all -- awe would be all that was necessary. that concept doesn't really work. gen. petraeus: that did not completely see. it did impose a little awe here and there. there were folks fighting, shooting at us. we had casualties. we lost heavy equipment and everything else. david: when president bush decided to invade, in part it was because of the theory that they had weapons of mass destruction. gen. petraeus: right.
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david: that information came from the cia. when you became the head of the cia, did you ever dig into that? gen. petraeus: i did not dig into that as much as i did several other issues, such as the use of enhanced interrogation, which i have personally opposed. one, i think it is wrong. i think it is beyond international law and the geneva convention. i just don't think it is effective. as jim mattis colorfully said, give me a beer and a cigarette, and i will get more information than by waterboarding. not quite that simple. to put it more simply, you want to become their best friend in detention. the interrogator does. i say this having been a commander who oversaw the holding of more detainees than anyone else. 27,000 of them. we have some experience with what works in detainees.
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treating them humanely while still eliciting information from them is way to go about it. david: you have never before had people working for you directly who were killed in combat. the command of people who were dying. gen. petraeus: it is a chilling experience. i remember the radio call when our first soldier was killed. it takes the wind out of you. i remember hearing when the third infantry division, which really spearheaded the fight along with the marine division into baghdad, i was monitoring the radio because we were all fighting together, and they had a couple of heavy vehicles blown up. it is chilling. david: you were there for how long? gen. petraeus: that was about a year-long deployment. i was back for a couple of months. i was asked to go back quickly to do an assessment for a couple
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of weeks or the secretary of defense of the iraqi security force effort. i came back and reported that to secretary rumsfeld. he said great report, go back and do what you have recommended. david: did you think if you hadn't written such a good report, they would not send you back. gen. petraeus: secretary rumsfeld had an interesting way of giving rewards. i remember in the final week or so, he came over, and he was literally patting me on the back . he said, on the way home i want you to come to afghanistan. i said, that is not exactly the direct line between two points. we did an assessment over there on the way home. david: president obama calls you into the oval office and says i would like you to give up central command and be a military commander in afghanistan. what did you think about that? gen. petraeus: if the president
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calls on you to do something, i think you do it. david: you didn't say, let me think about it? mr. petraeus: no. ♪
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♪ david: you've finished your second tour of duty in iraq. you went back to the united states. gen. petraeus: we had about 15 months at work leavenworth, kansas. there are a number of different hats and individual wears. you control the army's doctrine. it is quite an extraordinarily command. we really revamped the whole process of preparing units, soldiers, and their leaders to go to iraq and afghanistan. we did the counterinsurgency field manual. david: you wrote a very good report. you oversaw the counterinsurgency manual. it was so good that people said maybe this person should be in charge of the current
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counterinsurgency efforts. you were asked by president bush to lead the so-called surge. to lead the so-called surge. when he said this, did you say, i have already served to two hours of duty, and i don't need to go back a third time? gen. petraeus: no. you say it would be a privilege to do that. it is the same thing i said when president obama sat me down several years later with no pleasantries and no one else in the room except for a photographer, i'm asking you to go to afghanistan and take command. i think the only answer at a time like that can be. david: what i didn't understand at the time is how many troops did we have in iraq at the time of the surge? gen. petraeus: we had about 140,000 u.s. soldiers. we are tens of thousands of additional. we added about 25,000 to 35,000 forces during the
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surge. i will just point out, and i am sure there are some surge veterans in here that will validate this, it was not a sur -- not the surge of forces, it was a change of strategy. it was a 180-degree shift and getting out of the faces of the iraqi people and going back to living in the neighborhoods. that is the only way you can secure them. you cannot kill or capture your way out of an industrial-strength insurgency. from handing off to iraqi forces that could not handle the escalating violence to actually taking over, we created 77 additional locations just in the baghdad divisional area alone during the course of the surge. david: had 140,000 american troops and we sent over an additional 25,000 to 35,000. that was enough given the techniques you used to bring it to a stable position.
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gen. petraeus: dramatically reduced violence. it was during the course of an 18 month. -- period. david: the president asked you to head that. they are in charge of u.s. military operations in the middle east. general petraeus. it is 20etraeus: countries from egypt in the west to pakistan in the east, kazakhstan in the north, and somalia in the south. we were proud to have 90% of the worlds problem set the time. david: if you have one of these commands, usually, not always, someone gets to rise up to be the army chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. you were rising up. one day, president obama calls you and says i would like you to
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give up the central command and go back and be a military commander in afghanistan. what do you think about that? gen. petraeus: if the present asked you to do something, you do it. david: you didn't say, let me think about it? gen. petraeus: no. the only answer to a question like that can be yes. i would say in that case and prior, it was secretary gates who called me. i was on leave. it was the last time i saw my father before i went to the surge. i was on a freeway outside of l.a. driving to where he lived in a retirement home, and i took the call from secretary gates. in each case, i wanted to have a little more conversation and say, i would like you to understand who you are getting as your commander. my advice when it comes to drawing forces down and so forth will be based on the facts on the ground with an understanding of the mission that you have assigned us, which we will have dialogue informed by an awareness of all these other issues which you have to deal
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with legitimately, congressional politics, coalition politics, budget deficits, you name it. given by fax on the ground. that is important. what i am saying is i'm going to give it to you straight, not changing it based on issues you have to deal with. i will obviously support the decision you ultimately make. david: you went to afghanistan. you spent 12 months. gen. petraeus: a little over 12 months. david: what did you conclude? did we have an effort to successfully get rid of the taliban? gen. petraeus: as i said in congress, we would not be able to flip afghanistan the way we flipped iraq. if you see what i mean. i really did believe we could do in iraq what we ultimately did. what was eating at me was whether we could do it fast enough, that you would have sufficient results to report six months into the surge. that was crucial.
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congressional support was tenuous. we did. we reduced violence very dramatically. it continued to be reduced. it was sustained in a rock for three and a half years until tragically the prime minister undid it with highly sectarian actions. in the case of afghanistan, i was under no illusions that we would be able to replicate what we did in iraq. the circumstances are very different. i actually laid out for the secretary of defense that secretary rumsfeld asked me to do, the very first slide in that said afghanistan does not equal a rock. -- iraq. there is not going to be a prospect of a dramatic improvement. what our mission was in that year and what we did accomplish was to halt the momentum of the
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taliban because they were on the and selectverse it afghan institutions so we could begin transition of some tasks, which we did, all while achieving the overarching goal, which is still a valid and important mission for the united states in afghanistan. that is to ensure that afghanistan is never again a sanctuary for transnational extremists the way it was when al qaeda planned the 9/11 attacks there and conducted them. david: you briefed president bush 43 and president obama. if they were taking an sat test, who would do better? gen. petraeus: i do not grade the presidents with which i served. david: who was the better athlete? gen. petraeus: president bush. he could talk trash. he said, winky write a mountain bike with me? ♪
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♪ david: while you were in afghanistan, the effort to capture osama bin laden was going forward. gen. petraeus: capture or kill. david: capture or kill. how were you alerted to that, because you were not directly in the chain of command for that decision that night? gen. petraeus: no one else in our headquarters knew at all. i got up myself, no aides, or anything else. we had a joint special operations command post at the nato headquarters in kabul where i was located. i went in there, sort of surprised them at 11:00 at
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night, they said, "what are you doing in here?" i asked everyone to leave except for one officer who i knew very, very well. we dialed up so we could monitor the operation. we had a lot of contingency plans. the forces -- they conducted some of those, at least in the headquarters, was working for me in normal times. but that night they were working for the cia. the cia, it was a covert action, which means the chain of command runs from the president to the director of the cia, and then, to admiral mcraven and the seal team 6 unit. david: did you -- subsequently, the afghan military or their own service or intelligence versus knew that osama bin laden was living there? gen. petraeus: no, i do not think so. we were pretty convinced of that. i think leon panetta supports that as do others. david: you are in afghanistan after about 12 and a half months
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the president said i would like you to come back and be the head of the cia. doing that meant you had to give up your military career. gen. petraeus: i did not have to, but i chose to. i thought in fact -- the president and i talked about that when he made the decision to nominate me for that. i agreed that that would be the best approach. i thought it was very important not to have folks think i was going to turn this place into a military headquarters. i literally showed up the first day and said i would do that. with no one but the security guards -- david: was it emotional to give up your military career at that point? gen. petraeus: it is always emotional to take the uniform off for the last time. it is a wonderful experience. but you have the prospect of this extraordinary new opportunity that was very exciting. the cia is an incredible group of the men and women, the silent warriors, as we term them. you know, they also raise their hands, taking an oath at a time of war. they know they are not going to get a parade. there is nothing public about what they do. they can't even have the joy that most of us have talking
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about what it is they do on a daily basis. david: when you get to the cia, do you say these are all the secrets the country has, and these are not as many as i thought, or these are incredible secrets? which do think? [laughter] gen. petraeus: you know, on a near daily basis, throughout my time there, it was one of those, "are you kidding me?" seriously? really? so yeah, there are some extraordinary secrets. [laughter] gen. petraeus: by the way, those who think we do not know how to recruit spies anymore or all we do is rely on satellites or something like that could not be more wrong. there are incredibly talented, clandestine services operation that are really exceptional. david: when you are at the cia, not a policy maker, but you are involved in the policy process, how did you look at the government then as opposed to when you were in the military? gen. petraeus: i think in each case you have input.
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certainly, if you are the commander of a theater of war, of iraq or afghanistan, there is certainly no one who has a bigger voice, if you will, when it comes to assessments, options, and recommendations. it is more significant than the central commander in that regard. the same is true of the cia. keep in mind, your role at the situation room table is twofold. one, it is together with the director of national intelligence to provide the intelligence analysis, to present what your analysts have determined. and occasionally, and the president asked me to do this, if i disagreed with analysts, which i have done three times as a four-star battlefield commander, i broke with the intelligence community on national intelligence estimates. that is a pretty big deal. in each case, there is generally a reason for it. one of them was the surge, they had to cut their data off four or five weeks before i did.
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david: you disagreed with -- gen. petraeus: he said look, if you disagree, i want you to give me what the analysts say, and also give me your own idea. i had more time with the prime minister than the analysts did. david: you ever worry about a covert operation on you they might perform? gen. petraeus: no, no. the analysts like this. the analysts want somebody who engages them. it is fun. analysts will come in and say, "today, we are going to talk about the prime minister of iraq." i say great, "have you ever met him?" no? well, ok. give it your best shot. david: you briefed president bush 43, and you briefed, many times, president obama. what is the difference between the two on briefing them? gen. petraeus: the bush 43 i briefed most significantly on a weekly basis together with my great diplomatic partner in the
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surge in iraq. we had a weekly video teleconference for an hour every monday morning 7:30 eastern standard time. the president with his national security team around the situation room videoconferencing directly with us. he had gone all in on the surge. he had put it all on the line and frankly overridden the advice of most of his advisers. very few people were strong behind the surge. general keane by the way was one of those. so, he was absolutely, intimately involved in this. the next day, he did a video conference with the prime minister of iraq each week. so, it was a different circumstance. we weren't doing the surge in iraq anymore by the time president obama arrives. iraq was in a pretty good place. the question was, how quickly can we draw down without jeopardizing what we fought and sacrificed so hard to achieve? you know, president obama famously does his homework, studies it, deliberates it. the afghan policy review that
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was conducted in the latter part of his first year was extraordinary. i don't think any president has ever engaged the national security team, whatever it was, nine or 10 times directly. before each one of those, there is the deputies committee and the principal committee. both very exhaustive. david: they are both taking an sat test, who would do better? gen. petraeus: i don't grade the presidents that i served in that way. david: all right, and who was a better athlete? did you ever exercise with any of them? gen. petraeus: depends on the sport. president bush -- he could talk trash, by the way. and he did with me. he challenged me. i was in the oval office with my family after the surge in iraq, and he said, general, when will you have the guts to ride a mountain bike with me? i said, mr. president, do you have any idea who you are talking to?
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i said, "i will give you an experience you can write off on your income tax as education." [laughter] david: did you ever do it? gen. petraeus: yes, i was glued to it. he is terrific. he also knew the course, had the best bike in the world. [laughter] gen. petraeus: i had to borrowed borrowed clunker. i was the road biker, but the secret service will get you if you try to pass him. i mean, this was a full contact sport when you ride with president bush. it is like nascar, singletrack. always 40. president obama, famously a great basketball player. i don't think that president bush had any illusions he could take president obama one-on-one full-court. ♪ david: what is your view about the importance of nato? gen. petraeus: you can thank vladimir putin for giving it a rebirth in some respects. david: the russians probably interfered with our recent presidential election. gen. petraeus: they are trying to undermine the trust of the people in our system. that is a major issue. ♪
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♪ david: you are at the cia and then, because of a personal mistake, you conceded that you made, you stepped down, and you voluntarily left of the cia. would you ever go back in another administration? gen. petraeus: i would not rule it out. again, i think it is an extraordinary privilege to serve one's country. and so i think, again, for the right position with the right sort of context and so forth, the right conditions, it is not something that i would rule out. david: would you consider running for president of the united states? gen. petraeus: no. and i, i said i would never run back before i left government. in fact, i actually went to one of the white house chiefs of staff one time under president obama, rahm emanuel. there was a buzz that petraeus is running for office, be
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careful, be suspicious. he is setting himself to run in the next election. i politely grabbed rahm and i said, i am not running for the president of the united states. please understand that. i tried truly to be nonpartisan, not just bipartisan. david: what word did he use? gen. petraeus: he used another word. [laughter] gen. petraeus: infantry men have some degree of familiarity with those words. david: let's talk about the world right now and where it stands. what is your view about the importance of nato and what to -- what should be done to improve nato? gen. petraeus: i agree with my old marine and ship buddy, james mattis, when he said that if nato did not exist, it would have to be invented. it is a hugely important organization. it serves an extraordinary role during the cold war. the wall came down, and it continued to serve an extraordinary role. i think that it has a new reason for living. you can thank vladimir putin for giving it, you know, a rebirth in some respects in terms of its importance. there is no question. i think president trump is right that there are countries that
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are not paying their dues, not doing all that they should. the countries agreed that they should all pay at least 2% of their gdp for defense, and a number of countries have work to do to get to that threshold. david: let me ask you about this. it is reported by many that the russians probably interfered or tried to interfere with our recent presidential election. gen. petraeus: i do not think there is any question about it. i don't think anyone in the intelligence community has any questions. essentially, what they are trying to do, arguably whether they are literally trying to change the results, but to change how people might see one candidate or the other. but certainly were trying to undermine the trust of people in our system. that is, that is a major issue. david: in terms of iraq, where do you think iraq is today? is iraq stable today? gen. petraeus: iraq, the situation is obviously improved.
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with our help, the iraqi forces have been retrained and equipped. we are enabling them with so-called nato approved intelligence assets, drones, precision strikes, industrial-strength ability to fuse intelligence. gradually taking back from the islamic state those areas they seized. we will eventually defeat the islamic state that is the army in iraq. we will then have to help iraqi security forces on the residual insurgents in guerrilla elements -- insurgents and guerrilla elements and terrorist cells. really, the issue is not these battles. i have said for two years, even from the darkest days, ultimately the iraqis would prevail in this with our assistance and that of our coalition partners. the real issue is the battle after the battle. it is very, very challenging in that regard. it is not just sunni and shia arabs. there are areas, there are kurds. all of those people have to feel they are represented in the new government. that new government has to be within means, responsive to their needs.
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most importantly, minority rights are guaranteed as well as majority rule. that is a tall order. the prime minister, no question has said that he wants to have inclusive governance rather than exclusive. with the exclusive, it was alienating the sunni arabs that created the fertile fields for the planting of extremism and the rise of isis. the question is, will there be fertile fields again from which isis 3.0 will arise, or not? david: let's talk about syria for a moment. in syria, there seems to be an ongoing war that seems to have no end. what would you recommend to the president of the united states if he asks you what we should now do with syria? gen. petraeus: they are doing a fair amount of what i would recommend. to be fair, the obama administration in the final six to 12 months made a number of steps. you could argue it took too long, grudging, or what have you, but ultimately, it did take a number of steps to defeat the islamic state as a focus. beyond that objective of
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defeating isis and the al qaeda affiliate in syria, the other objective should be to stop the bloodshed. recognize that the diplomatic effort to create some kind of an agreement that will result in a democratically-elected, multiethnic, multi-sectarian government in damascus for all of syria is probably beyond reach now. so, look at what kinds of interim solutions on the ground could be established, could be achieved, so that you stop the bloodshed, stop the further flow of refugees, bring some of those back, and try to stabilize the situation. david: what about the iranian agreement that was negotiated under president obama? do you support that agreement? do you think it is working? gen. petraeus: i do not support walking away from it without enormous reason for that. i fear that if we left it without that, we would be more likely to isolate ourselves and to isolate iran. david: we have been in the afghanistan military combat longer than any war in our history. do you see any prospect of
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getting all of our troops out of afghanistan in the foreseeable future? gen. petraeus: not in the foreseeable future. i think what we need to do is make a sustained commitment to afghanistan. stop the year on year agony on how we can draw down further. i think we have drawn down a bit too far, and it would be great to have another -- if you take all the coalition forces, say 5000 additional forces, back on the ground -- we are doing foolish things because of these troop caps. there is an aviation brigade deployed out there, all the helicopters and pilots obviously. they had to leave maintenance crews behind which means you have to pay extraordinarily high cost and integrity because -- extraordinary high cost to bring in civilian contractors. and you have the integrity issues because manufacturers are sitting in the heartland of the united states without helicopters to work on while their comrades are at war and need them.
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we have to think our way through that. again, there is no blank check ever, and the afghans should not think they have that by any means. they have to deliver, but they are very much fighting and dying for their country. we need to continue to enable them. because that mission that i talked about earlier, to make afghanistan never a sanctuary for transnational extremists, is very valid. david: what about kim jong-un? nobody in the american government has ever met him. we really don't know much about him. what do you think he is trying to do? gen. petraeus: he is trying to build himself as quickly as he can a deterrent that will enable him to stay in power and to continue the legacy passed on to him from his father and his grandfather. the challenge for this is, this is the crisis to prevent a madman, in many people's eyes, from getting a nuclear capability that can actually reach the united states. this is a very real threat, and it is one that confronts president trump uniquely. i don't think any president has ever had that particular prospect. yes, they were developing a nuclear program. yes, they had some delivery means.
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but if they get an intercontinental ballistic missile, and they can put a nuclear device on it, that is a significant threat to the u.s. the president may be confronted by that most difficult of decisions. ♪ david: what political leaders you most admire? gen. petraeus: i am a great fan of teddy roosevelt. the man in the arena speech has always captured me. the credit belongs to the man in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. if he fails, at least fails out while daring greatly. ♪
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♪ david: let's talk a moment about leadership. you are considered one of the great military leaders of our generation, maybe any other
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generation. what is leadership to you? gen. petraeus: leadership has four tasks, which is particularly true at the strategic level. if you are commanding iraq or afghanistan, the carlyle group, you have to get the big ideas right, you have to get the strategy right. you have to communicate them effectively through the breadth and depth of the organization, you have to oversee their implementation of these subtasks. it has metrics, your battle rhythm, how you spend your time. we have a matrix for months of how we did that. then most importantly, and a task that is often forgotten, you have to have a formal prices to determine how they have to be revised, refined, maybe shot and left on the side of the road intellectually, and do it again and again. it is same in the civilian world as well. think of netflix. three times they have gotten this right. they decided early on to put blockbuster out of business by mailing cd's to people. they worked through that, then see that blockbuster is out of
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business and now others are doing this. so now the connectivity is fast enough we can stream content, the videos, out to them and download them. they can do all that. then they realize others are doing that, and they made a huge bet, i think it was $100 million on house of cards, we are going to provide content. reed hastings, a truly admirable and innovative, impressive leader, continues to get it right. david: in the military, who are the military leaders you most admire overtime? gen. petraeus: i think ulysses s. grant is hugely underrated. although now finally, he is once again getting his due. he was the hero of the world really after he left the white house and traveled the world on this famous tour. wrote fantastic memoirs. then, the southern historians ran him down for the first 50 years of the past century, but gradually, regard has returned. there is a terrific biography by ron white who i interviewed at
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the 92nd street titled "american ulysses." it is a wonderful title. he really was america's ulysses in many respects. and the man of hamilton fame, his biography will be out in mid-october as well. grant was the only general in u.s. history who was brilliant tactically, division level and below. these are battles with donelson and henry, the man between the lakes, brilliant operationally, at many things and not the whole theater -- at vicksburg, one of the greatest maneuver campaigns are of all time, and then strategically when he charted the strategy for the entire union force. people forget this was not inevitable. the idea that the union forces were just ultimately going to grind down the south was not inevitable until grant made it so. had there not been for that strategy and the victory of sherman at atlanta and then sheridan in the shenandoah valley, lincoln could've lost the election of 1864.
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had mcclellin won, he might have sued for peace, and we would not have the united states as we know it now. david: what political leaders do you admire? gen. petraeus: there are a number that have gotten big ideas right over the years. certainly, those who are on mount rushmore deserve that. i am a particular great fan of teddy roosevelt. the man in the arena speech has always captured me. "the credit belongs to the man you in the arena whose face is marred by dust, and sweat, and blood. if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly," and this kind of stuff. fdr again, another great leader. david: current leaders, are there any current leaders you admire? gen. petraeus: there are certainly some in congress have been really, very impressive. men of enormous courage, frankly. john mccain is one who went through an extraordinary difficult period obviously in captivity in north vietnam when he was shot down.
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endured that, still has limitations of his motion today. truly an individual of principle. i remember sitting in his office one time, and i was trying to support the nomination for an ambassador in the area that i was responsible for. we needed the individual -- and i realized -- he pulled out something on the individual and sort of confronted me with it politely. i said, "this is a man of enormous principle." indeed, he has been. david: what about your legacy? you obviously have a terrific career in public service, now you are building one in the private sector. what would you like your legacy say, "this isple what david petraeus was all about?" gen. petraeus: i do not know. to be candid, i have not thought thought that much about that.
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i've tried to stay as busy as i can, thinking about the future -- maybe it can be said he got the big ideas right a times in some critical situations. ♪
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♪ >> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: the house of representatives approved the american health care act this afternoon. republican legislature plans to repeal and replace key parts of the affordable care act. the vote marks a significant victory for president trump and house republican leaders. their earlier efforts to repeal obamacare failed to unite conservatives and moderates within the house gop. most republicans have not yet read the legislation. it passed without an official concise manner -- assessment


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