Transcript. Excerpt below:
AMANPOUR: But five months after elections, Iraqi politicians have not yet formed a government, and violence continues. Last night, three explosions at a market in southern Iraq killed dozens of people. And today, two car bombs went off west of Baghdad.
Joining me this morning from Baghdad, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, General Ray Odierno. General Odierno, thank you very much for joining us on "This Week."
And I want to start by asking you about the handover. You have just handed over all combat operations to Iraqi forces. Are they really ready to stand up once you draw down by the end of this month?
ODIERNO: Well, this is something that we've been working for a very long time with the Iraqi security forces. For the last 20 months, we've been slowly and deliberately turning over more and more responsibility to them, and they have stepped up. They continue to do broad-scoped operations across all of Iraq. We continue to help them as they do these, and that will continue after 1 September, our assistance. But we do believe they are ready to assume full operations in Iraq.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you about the violence. This weekend alone in Basra in the south, there has been a big explosion that's caused dozens of deaths. What is it? Do you know what it is, in fact, was it a terrorist attack?
ODIERNO: Well, I think it probably was. We're still sorting through that, because there was conflicting reports, but my guess is it was probably some sort of an improvised explosive device that went off.
I would just say, this is a reflection -- we have ups and downs here. As I step back, having been here since the dark days of 2006 and '7, to where we are today, what I see is a broad change in the security environment here in Iraq.