This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 1, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, the decision has been made. Now the country begins to execute it. Now, is this the right plan? What are the risks? Republican congressman Tom Price just returned from Afghanistan. He met with General Stanley McChrystal during his trip. Congressman Price joins us live.
Congressman, it's always so different actually going someplace than hearing about it or reading about it. What was different for you? What'd you see?
REP. TOM PRICE, R - GA.: Well, we spent Thanksgiving with the troops, which was just phenomenal because it was incredibly inspiring to be with the young men and women over there and share that wonderful day. But what I saw was a desolate nation. I mean, it's hard to describe until you get there. But the -- our troops are fighting just as hard as they can to accomplish the mission.
VAN SUSTEREN: So morale? Is there -- I mean...
PRICE: Morale's pretty good, but they wanted this day to come. They wanted the president to make a decision. They've been frustrated. The troops have been frustrated by the fact that the decision hasn't been made. So I think they'll be heartened by the fact that just a decision has been made.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, it's not just a question of numbers, though. It's a question of what we do with those numbers.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, looking at the way the president outlined it tonight, what are your thoughts on how -- how he's outlined what we're going to do with those extra troops?
PRICE: Well, I think there was a disconnect tonight. I think he outlined the risk pretty doggone well. I think he described the risk of al Qaeda pretty well. But then there seemed to be a remarkable disconnect with saying within virtually one sentence, We're going to start this operation, and we're going to end it with a period of 18 months, which was exactly what the folks in Afghanistan told us he ought not do because it just gives the -- the Taliban, the enemy, the opportunity to say, Well, we'll just hunker down for 18 months.
VAN SUSTEREN: It was interesting what General Scales just said a few minutes ago, and I think -- and I agree with him on this, is that we think of it in terms of Afghanistan and of Pakistan, but this really -- you know, they don't see this as a border. There is no sort of border with these two nations necessarily. And that's what makes this so troubling and so dangerous because this really does involve Pakistan.
PRICE: Over 250 trail crossings across those borders. You know, we think of two or three crossings, but you see on the map over 250 trails that we've learned about over there. So you're right, it's not just Afghanistan, it's the entire area.
VAN SUSTEREN: So what's General McChrystal like?
PRICE: He was incredibly confident. He was -- I thought he was very candid. He said that he thought he could get the mission accomplished with what the president had decided. But what my concern is, is that I didn't see the commitment out of the president that I saw out of the troops on the ground.
VAN SUSTEREN: Like, how -- what did you expect, though? I mean, what were you looking for that you didn't get, besides the -- I know -- I understand you don't like the 18-month end point, and maybe that was political because the president's got a lot of people who are -- you know, who are not happy with him sending more troops. But I mean, outside of that, what were you looking for?
PRICE: Passion, a resolve that says, We -- this is a true threat to the United States, which he did say...
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he said that.
PRICE: ... which he did say...
VAN SUSTEREN: He did say that.
PRICE: That's right, but then, We're going to accomplish this in 18 months. Nobody believes you can accomplish this in 18 months. General McChrystal doesn't believe you can get it done in 18 months. So why set that timeline? It's...
VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think he...
PRICE: ... self-defeating.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think he did do that? Do you think it was just political?
PRICE: I think -- it's the only reason you can come up with. No reason I can come up with.
VAN SUSTEREN: I'll tell you what surprised me that the president said. He said, Let me be clear, there has never been an option before me that called for troop deployment before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of resources. I thought, Why in the world are you making excuses for that? I mean, I thought that he -- you know, he -- it's so many -- actually, it's obviously got under his skin...
PRICE: Oh, yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... that people were critical that he had taken, you know, a number of months to make -- and this is an important -- this is a tough decision and not an easy one.
PRICE: Sure. Absolutely. But he spent the majority of the speech appearing to me to make excuses for why we couldn't do X, Y or Z instead of saying, This is what our job is, and this is what we're going to do, and we'll do it with the confidence and the enthusiasm of the American people.
VAN SUSTEREN: But you know, a lot of people compare this to Vietnam, but this is so vastly different. I mean, 40 years ago, they didn't -- there weren't -- there wasn't easy -- people didn't export terrorism to the United States, like we saw on 9/11. So it's different. And you didn't have a border -- you didn't have a neighbor like Pakistan to Afghanistan. This is a very different war.
PRICE: It is, and that's why I think you need a more comprehensive strategy. And I was so impressed with General McChrystal and what he has described as being the strategy of protecting the population so that you can build up the infrastructure and put in place -- make it so that a government can be put in place that can keep and secure and maintain the territory, so that al Qaeda -- remember, the mission is to make certain that we degrade the ability of al Qaeda to ever threaten the American people again.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it's not just pushing them into Pakistan.
PRICE: No. You're right.
VAN SUSTEREN: Because -- you know, that -- I mean, the problem is they -- it is -- that is just the beginning. But anyway, we got to go. Congressman, thank you. Welcome home.
PRICE: Thanks, Greta. Appreciate it.Content and Programming Copyright 2009 FOX News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2009 CQ Transcriptions, LLC, which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon FOX News Network, LLC'S and CQ Transcriptions, LLC's copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.