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A Loyal Opposition, Cont.

1:48 PM, Nov 29, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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In a couple of editorials, "A Loyal Opposition" and "No Substitute for Victory," this magazine has urged conservatives and Republicans to support President Obama if he does the right thing in Afghanistan--and, where it's appropriate to be critical, to offer constructive criticism. In case you missed them, here are the boss's comments this morning on Fox News Sunday:

OBAMA: After eight years, some of those years in which we did not have, I think, either the resources or the strategy to get the job done, it is my intention to finish the job. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Well, after three months of deliberations, President Obama is finally ready to announce his new strategy for Afghanistan.

So, Bill, let's start with a question that I asked the senators at the top of the program. What are you going to be listening for Tuesday night? What do you need to hear from the president?

KRISTOL: Well, I hope he comes as close to General McChrystal's recommendation in terms of troops, resources. As the president said, let's have the right resources and the right strategy. It's a winnable war. The delay makes it a little harder, but it still remains winnable.

2010 will be a tough year, I think, because the surge won't really have its effect until late in 2010, and the president needs to prepare the American public. There are no instant results. We can't be looking for the off-ramps when we're just beginning to build up.

2011 I think could be a year of decisive progress. The president's got to commit to this, therefore, for the rest of his first term, I think. He can win this war. We could win this war in 2012 and achieve a huge amount of good.

I think the other thing I would like him to do is not simply say, "This is tough. This is difficult. There will be casualties," all of which is true. This is an opportunity. Pakistan is improving. If Afghanistan can be stabilized and can improve there, you could really stabilize Southeast Asia, which would be a huge victory in the global effort to set back Islamic jihadism....

WALLACE: Bill, in the end, I think we all agree the only thing that matters isn't the process, isn't -- it's whether or not this policy works or not. Given -- and you were pretty optimistic, but given the war weariness in this country, and given all the problems with the Karzai government, you really do think there's a chance for success?

KRISTOL: Sure. The surge in Iraq worked under much more difficult circumstances, much more hostility in the U.S., the Democratic Party in Congress trying to sabotage it at every stage.

The Republican Party will not do this over the next year or two. I really do believe that a lot of us watched what happened in 2007 and 2008 and thought the Democratic Party's behavior, frankly, was disgraceful.

It's unfortunate that even now, with a Democratic president, the Democrats apparently in Congress can't bring themselves to try to win a war, as opposed to get out of a war when the going gets tough.

But the Republicans, I think, will be a loyal opposition. They will support the president. The president simply needs to be patient, give the -- General Petraeus and General McChrystal know what they're doing.

And believe me, no one wants less to send American soldiers into harm's way for a war that can't be won than Dave Petraeus or Stan McChrystal, so trust them. They think it's winnable. Give them the resources they need.

Tell the American public to be patient. Tell his own party to be patient. Tell some of his own party to go jump in the lake. And President Obama will be in a happy position, in my view, in 2012, of having had considerable success in Afghanistan.