Remember my post from earlier this week about the bogus Times of London article saying that General Odierno was resisting the SOFA timeline that Spencer Ackerman debunked? Well Huffington Post has the transcript of the whole interview and here is what you missed from the clip above.
KING: Let me -- let me ask you -- let me move back to a more serious question, and the idea that, in the previous administration and in your service prior to this administration, you were very clear that you thought these decisions should not be based on political timelines; they should be based on conditions on the ground.
I understand you're executing the orders of the commander in chief. I just want to get a sense of, are you concerned at all that the bad guys, the enemy, knows the timeline, too, and they are simply going into hiding, hoarding their resources, gathering their weapons and waiting for you to leave?
ODIERNO: There is always that potential. But, again, let me remind everyone what change was in December when the United States and the government of Iraq signed an agreement, a bilateral agreement that put the timeline in place, that said we would withdraw all our forces by 31 December, 2011.
In my mind, that was historic. It allowed Iraq to prove that it has its own sovereignty. It allows them, now, to move forward and take control, which was always -- it's always been our goal, is that they can control the stability in their country.
So I think I feel comfortable with that timeline. I did back in December. I do now. We continue to work with the government of Iraq so they can meet that timeline, so that they are able to maintain stability once we leave. I still believe we're on track with that, as we talk about this today.
KING: You say you're comfortable with that timeline, sir. I want you to expound on that, a little bit. Because, back in -- I'm holding up a copy of Tom Ricks' book, "The Gamble." It's a fascinating book from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalist about the war effort in Iraq.
And you told him, in that book -- this is -- he's quoting you in that book. "When asked what sort of U.S. military presence he expected in Iraq around 2014 or 2015, well after Obama's first term, Odierno said, 'I would like to see a force probably around 30,000 or so, 35,000, with many troops training Iraqi forces and others conducting combat operations against Al Qaida in Iraq and its allies.'"
Now, certainly, this was before the agreement with the Iraqi government was negotiated -- and I want to make that clear -- when you made those remarks.
But you have to implement this strategy because it is a signed agreement between the government of Iraq and the United States of America. But do you personally think it would be best that, for the foreseeable future, to leave 30,000 or so behind?
ODIERNO: Well, again, what I would tell you is it really has always been about Iraqi -- Iraqis securing their own country. So the issue becomes, do we think they will be able to do that?
As they continue to improve in the operations they've been able to conduct, I believe that they will be able to do that by the end of 2011.
And so the most important thing for us is to help them now to reduce the risk that will be left with them once we depart at the end of 2011. We will continue to train and advise. We'll continue to assist; we'll continue to conduct combat operations, where we believe it's necessary.
And I do believe, now, that it is probably the right time frame.
KING: And on a scale of 1 to 10, sir, how confident are you, 10 being fully confident, that you will meet that deadline, that all U.S. troops will be gone at the end of 2011?
ODIERNO: As you ask me today, I believe it's a 10 that we will be gone by 2011.
KING: That's a -- that's a bold statement.
I guess King was buying the whole Time of London frame. Glad to see that General Odierno had him stammering over the truth. John King should spend less time reading the Times and more time reading Attackerman if you ask me.