Check out this exchange between CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric and Sen. Barack Obama about why Obama says he still wouldn't have supported the surge back then had he known it would help reduce violence so significantly.
Couric: But talking microcosmically, did the surge, the addition of 30,000 additional troops ... help the situation in Iraq?
Obama: Katie, as … you've asked me three different times, and I have said repeatedly that there is no doubt that our troops helped to reduce violence. There's no doubt.
Couric: But yet you're saying … given what you know now, you still wouldn't support it … so I'm just trying to understand this.
Obama: Because … it's pretty straightforward. By us putting $10 billion to $12 billion a month, $200 billion, that's money that could have gone into Afghanistan. Those additional troops could have gone into Afghanistan. That money also could have been used to shore up a declining economic situation in the United States. That money could have been applied to having a serious energy security plan so that we were reducing our demand on oil, which is helping to fund the insurgents in many countries. So those are all factors that would be taken into consideration in my decision-- to deal with a specific tactic or strategy inside of Iraq.
Couric: And I really don't mean to belabor this, Senator, because I'm really, I'm trying … to figure out your position. Do you think the level of security in Iraq …
Couric … would exist today without the surge?
Obama: Katie, I have no idea what would have happened had we applied my approach, which was to put more pressure on the Iraqis to arrive at a political reconciliation. So this is all hypotheticals. What I can say is that there's no doubt that our U.S. troops have contributed to a reduction of violence in Iraq. I said that-- not just today, not just yesterday, but I've said that-- previously. What that doesn't change is that we've got to have a different strategic approach if we're going to make America as safe as possible.
Catch more from Couric's interview tonight on the CBS Evening News.