Palin tells ABC's Gibson her thoughts on war

First of three interviews takes place Thursday in Alaska

NEW YORK -- GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin defended her experience and her readiness during the first of several interviews ABC News anchor Charles Gibson conducted with her Thursday in Alaska.

"I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can't blink," Palin told Gibson in a portion of the interview that will be aired on Thursday's "World News With Charles Gibson."

ABC News said that, in the interview, Palin said that both Ukraine and Georgia should be allowed membership into NATO and that war might be necessary if a resurgent Russia invades.

"That is the agreement when you're a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you're going to be expected to be called upon and help," Palin said.

Gibson and ABC News scored a major coup over the weekend when it received the first exclusive interview with Palin. She was named the vice presidential candidate by Sen. John McCain two weeks ago, and the surprise pick has caused a media feeding frenzy over almost all aspects of her life.

The first of three interviews was conducted earlier Thursday in Fairbanks, Alaska. ABC News executives said this week that they would have to rush to get portions of the interview on Thursday night's "World News," since the first edition of the broadcast airs at 2:30 p.m. local time.

Other portions of the interviews were to air on Thursday night's "Nightline," Friday's "Good Morning America" and "World News" plus a special one-hour broadcast on "20/20" on Friday night. The second interview was to take place after "World News" aired on the East Coast, and appear on "Nightline." The third and final interview, scheduled for Friday, will air on "20/20."

In the first interview, Gibson asked about Palin's quote at an Alaska church about the war in Iraq being a task from God. She defended the quote by saying that she was quoting former President Lincoln.

"I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words," she said. "But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side."