McCain said he anticipated congressional support for a modest withdraw, but also, a "huge debate."
"I think there's going to be a real struggle. But I remember again, in the summer of 2007, they were within one vote of 60 votes to force a withdrawal. And, again, I would hope that Ryan Crocker and David Petraeus and General Allen, his successor, would be appearing before Congress. I think they can make a case," he said.
Yet polls show a public that is undeniably war-weary, after nearly 10 years of being engaged two wars.
In a June 6 ABC News/Washington Post poll, 73 percent of Americans favored withdrawal of "a substantial number" of U.S. combat forces this summer from Afghanistan. However, amongst Republicans, a majority still say the war is worth the costs, with 59 percent favor withdrawing a substantial number of troops this summer, compared with 89 percent of Democrats and 72 percent of Independents.
Given high public disenchantment with the war, as well as growing concern over the national debt, both Republicans and Democrats have been increasingly focused on the cost of the war.
Outgoing Secretary of Defense Gates admonished those seeking to cut defense spending overall and in Afghanistan.
"I worry that people's whose primary worry and concern is the economy and the deficit will see defense and our engagement around the world as a way to reduce those obligations and that deficits," Gates said Sunday on FOX News, saying defense spending is at its lowest since World War II, besides from a short period in the late 90s.
"We are on the right road, we will end our combat role by 2014," the secretary said on Afghanistan.
"I think it's a mistake to couch the question in terms of the cost of war. What's the cost of failure?" he asked.