OBAMA: Over vacation, I read a book of short stories by Phil Klay called "Redeployment." And it's a quick but powerful and for me painful set of stories about the experience of ordinary soldiers in Iraq. And I think it's a reminder, particularly important for a commander in chief, that the antiseptic plans and decisions and strategies and the opining of pundits that take place in Washington, you know, is very different from war and conflict as it's experienced by people on the ground. And part of the reason that I am deliberate about decision making when it comes to foreign policy, and part of the reason that I do think it's important to aim before you shoot is because I've met enough young men in Walter Reed and talked to enough families who have lost loved ones to remember that there are costs to the decisions we make. Sometimes we have to make them, but they are real and they are serious. And we can't play political games and we can't engage in bluster or reaction or, you know, try to beat our chests when we make these decisions. If we're going to deploy folks to war, it better be for a darn good reason. We better have a very clear objective that is worthy of the sacrifices that these folks make.Read the transcript of the Zakaria-Obama interview.
Learn about Phil Klay's top ten books about returning from war.