DA: "He said, 'One thing at a time. Security first, opium second.' "
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Michael rejoins TBFPTOT (now also including Fareed Zakaria) as Anderson Cooper asks questions about the speech. In the second clip, Wolf Blitzer asks about the drug situation in Afghanistan and how thoroughly drugs fuel the economy there and whether we can tackle that problem.
WOLF BLITZER: Right now Anderson Cooper is joining us -- Anderson, this is a tough day for the president. He's got his work cut out for him because now he's got to continue -- he and his advisers, his aides -- have to continue to sell this new strategy and make sure it really works.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, this is not, certainly, a one-night speech that he's going to be making. We're going to be hearing, probably, a lot from the president and certainly a lot from his aides over the next several days, if not several weeks, on this.
I want to go back to a point Donna Brazile made, that a lot of this is contingent on the Afghan government's ability to reform itself, to lessen the corruption and to actually get an Afghan security forces that are up and running.
We're joined by Fareed Zakaria for the first time tonight -- Fareed, just briefly, your thoughts on what the president spoke about tonight.
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": I think he was trying to square a difficult circle. I don't know that he strategically entirely agrees with the military that they have to have these troops. But I think he recognizes that once it was public, it was impossible for him to say zero.
So he has come up with a compromise, if you will, that is both strategic and political. Strategically, it gives McChrystal what he wants, but it puts him on notice that he has to deliver some kind of results pretty soon for it to be sustainable. And politically...
MICHAEL WARE: Before the next presidential election.
ZAKARIA: Well, and politically, I think it gives him the ability, before the Congressional elections, to say we have begun to turn the corner, we are beginning to deal -- to bring some troops out.
Look, these are not purely grand strategy decisions, there are also political ones. He has to sustain support for this surge in the United States, as well. It's a compromise, clearly.
COOPER: What proof, though, is there that the Afghan government can lessen the corruption?
I mean you said early on, back in 2002, before the emphasis was put on Iraq, there were changes that were made. But in terms of transparency, we have not seen anything in recent years -- or anything really serious...
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Well, clearly...
COOPER: -- on part of the Afghan government.
AMANPOUR: -- it's a big challenge. And, of course, a legitimate and credible Afghan government is a vital component to making this successful. There are others who have said, though, that when a political situation is underway, which it was in 2001, 2002 and up to 2003, progress was being made. Ashraf Ghani, the former finance minister and World Bank, the person who knows the most about this kind of thing, has said that it is possible...
COOPER: The man who -- who lost the presidential election...
AMANPOUR: Well, yes...
COOPER: -- and the man who won the presidential election, Hamid Karzai, won because he linked himself with some pretty rough characters...
AMANPOUR: He made...
COOPER: -- in this last election.
AMANPOUR: He has made a very clear inauguration speech. And, look, it's going -- the proof is going to be in the pudding. Either he's going to change his ways, hold people accountable -- his own interior minister talked about a new accountability office for the first time, a judge and a court where ministers will be held accountable and tossed out if they don't perform.
We'll see whether it happens. They're saying the right things. But more to the point, this notion that they didn't need more forces to actually try to beat back the Taliban is ludicrous. The military out there is quoted every day as saying we need more forces to be able to dominate the areas that we need to dominate. And everybody knows that it was because there were not enough forces on the ground that Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and his people were allowed to escape in Tora Bora.
COOPER: In terms, though...
AMANPOUR: It's a fact.
COOPER: -- of what the Afghan government is capable of doing, as you all know, you've all been to Kabul. You go on the streets of Kabul and there's these McMansions popping up. And they're owned by, you know, some colonel in the Afghan Army who's making, you know, supposedly, a couple bucks a week.
COOPER: Corruption is widespread.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When you go to talk to, you know, the government official who's responsible for cutting corruption, the statistics that he gave me this summer -- look, we're doing this to combat corruption in vehicle licensing. I mean that's not the country's central problem. Yes, it's one of their problems. And, yes, they're tackling it in a small way. But the problem is so vast.
What Karzai has done is create a government that doesn't have checks and balances, that he hasn't given power to provincial governors, that he's managed it and it is set up in such a way -- and he brought his old cronies back in to get re-elected -- that it -- that it's not possible to do it with just one small office like this.
ZAKARIA: I think it's very important, honestly, that we stop obsessing about corruption.
WARE: Yeah, I agree.
ZAKARIA: Afghanistan is the third poorest country in the world. America is pouring in money that amounts to several times its total GDP every year. There's going to be corruption.
COOPER: But doesn't it matter because...
COOPER: -- when the Marines go into these villages...
COOPER: -- and try to convince people that their government cares about them, people point to this corruption?
ZAKARIA: What wins the argument is not, you know, good, clean, honest government. What Karzai has to do is win the Pashtuns back. It is an ethnic problem. If you look around the world, the places that, you know, civil wars have been won, it has not been the squeaky clean guys who won. It's the guys who make political deals. He's got to figure out how to do that.
WARE: Fareed's right. The Afghans are not expecting a Washington-style, squeaky clean Afghan government. No Afghan is waiting for that. That's never going to come. The whole society is built on a feudal system.
ROBERTSON: But to win the Pashtuns back, they have to have trust in the government of the country.
WARE: Yes, but what...
ROBERTSON: And that's completely eroded.
WARE: The trust they want is that...
WARE: ...the trust is that Kabul isn't going to keep screwing them. Essentially, the Pashtuns lost the war and the Northern Alliance won. And among the Pashtu, America has picked its few favorites like Gul Agha Sherzi and Karzai himself and a couple of other tribal leaders and they're America's pets.
The largest Pashtun tribes have been left totally out in the cold. And you're not going to bring the Pashtuns back until you start engaging them.
ROBERTSON: And Gul Agha Sherzi is one of the leaders, one of the governors who's actually shown promise in Nangarhar, Nangarhar Inc. He's cut down the drug growth there. He's improved the infrastructure. He's actually shown some positive -- some positive results.
AMANPOUR: Interestingly, Michael, there are a lot of local tribal leaders now, a lot of sort of indigenous military militias that are growing up to actually combat the Taliban.
WARE: That's exactly what I'm talking about.
AMANPOUR: This is a big deal.
COOPER: We want to talk about that...
WARE: This is exactly what I'm talking about.
COOPER: We want to talk about that and how it compares to what happened in Iraq...
COOPER: --in terms of local militias and whether that's a viable possibility...
WARE: That's where we go.
COOPER: -- that the U.S. could get behind.
We're going to take a quick break.
Our coverage continues. We'll also talk about all the political aspects of this back in the United States with our political panel.
Our coverage continues.
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WOLF BLITZER: The president delivered a very, very detailed speech. But he left out some critical details as far as Afghanistan is concerned. Christiane Amanpour, we heard nothing from the president as far as opium and poppies, the drug trade in Afghanistan. It's the largest supplier of opium in the world. And there was no mention of it.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: That's right. It's really big problem right now. We just had the head of the U.N. Drug Interdiction on our program. It's a very, very big problem. What you actually didn't hear is almost anything about the whole civilian effort under which drug control does fall. It was remarkable in the lack of detail. In fact, he said no nation building. And this is a real contrast with what he said in March, when he talked about investing in Afghan's future, in really making sure that that place and Pakistan stayed secure by investing. He said it was much cheaper to give them the wherewithal to create a better future for themselves, than the U.S. paying for it. None of that tonight.
BLITZER: The number one source of revenue, Chris. You were just in Afghanistan. You saw what's going on over there. More money exporting drugs, heroin, opium, if you will, poppies, than they do anything else.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, 100 meters from one of the police stations, huge marijuana, hash field, as far as the eye can see, stalks 10 feet tall, 100 Meters from a police station. That tells you how pervasive that it is there.
BLITZER: So much of the economy, Michael Ware, depends on this.
WARE: Look, I lived in Kandahar. Every time I went to see the police chief, his guards would have red palms. That's from they had just been smacking and shaping the last hashish batch. It's the whole currency of -- it's the oxygen that fuels or allows the economy to breathe. I'll just spend time with Karzai's brother, the president's brother. They grow opium. Their tribe, the Popalzai, grows tons and tons and tons of opium. And I said to the president's brother, can you get your own people to stop growing opium? He went no, are you crazy? He said, I'd be finished if I did. He said, one thing at a time. Security first, opium second.
BLITZER: Nic, are the NATO allies going to really step up and help the president right now?
ROBERTSON: There's no indication that they are. I mean, the numbers that have been talked about recently have been 10,000. In Europe, right now, they're talking about 7,000. And Europeans are only talking about coming up with perhaps 3,000 to 4,000.
One of the interesting things, Prime Minister Gordon Brown last week talked about a draw-down and a hand-over of security to the Afghans in the north of the country. That's where the Germans are. It may impact, as well, the Italians and the Spanish, who have stayed out of the fight.
So what you may begin to see -- this is reading the tea leaves here -- is that the Europeans will be corralled in a way that they haven't been until now towards the fight in the south. But, no, the numbers are not going to be forthcoming.
BLITZER: Barbara, you're heading off to Afghanistan tomorrow. What's the most important thing you'd like to discover when you're there?
BARBARA STARR, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'd like to see what the troops actually think about this and whether they think they can succeed. I think Alex said it all really a little while ago, when he said what this is about is not the U.S. exit strategy, but what did we hear tonight that will lead to a Taliban exit strategy from this war? Maybe not very much.