Obama's War on Two Fronts: Health Care and Afghanistan

PHOTO Our exclusive headliner Senator John McCain talks about his recent visiting with Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan in a special edition of ?This Week with George Stephanopoulos?

An ABC News/Washington Post poll out this week shows support for President Obama's health care plans has dropped, with less than half of Americans, 45 percent, approving his handling of health care reform.

Yet health care reform might not be Obama's only problem.

Besides health care and the decline in his formerly sky-high approval rating as president, there is Afghanistan, which held its second-ever national election this week, putting a spotlight on the turmoil that still exists there and making it clear that there's more work to be done.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the former Republican presidential nominee who recently returned from spending most of the August congressional recess with the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, discussed America's wars and more on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

The exclusive interview took place on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, where McCain is preparing for Senate field hearings on the national parks.

McCain had no quarrel with how President Obama is prosecuting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But he's worried that the commanding general in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, is being pressured to not produce a clear recommendation for more troops.

His main concern was that McChrystal's strategic review (expected in the next couple of weeks) won't include a specific request for more troops.

"We need to know exactly what resources he needs," McCain said. "Gen. McChrystal is going to make some recommendations. I'm not happy with what he's going to do. ... It will be high risk, medium risk, low risk. Whenever you do that, they always pick the medium risk. I think he ought to do what Gen. Petraeus did, and that's decide exactly on the number he needs and then we debate it."

McCain said McChrystal is under "great pressures" from people in the administration to reduce estimates for more troops, but the pressure isn't coming from Obama.

"I think it's from people around him and others ... that I think don't want to see a significant increase in our troop presence there," McCain said.

Yet McCain did not criticize Obama on the war front even when asked whether he would be fighting the two wars differently if he were president.

Holding true to Obama's agreement to withdraw troops from the region by 2011, McCain reiterated the same idea that it can and should be met.

"We've made an agreement, we're going to have to stick to it," McCain said. "As far as active combat involvement is concerned, I think we're going to be out of there. I think that's the commitment that we've made."

But McCain mentioned the aftermath of war should not be forgotten.

"It's very obvious that for at least three years, we conducted the war in Iraq in the wrong fashion. And we paid a very heavy price in American blood and treasure," he said.

McCain expects it will be a year to 18 months before we see any real improvement.

"I think you need to see a reversal of these very alarming and disturbing trends on attacks, casualties, areas of the country that the Taliban has increased control of," McCain said. "And I think we can do that in the year to 18 months."

But the clock is ticking. A majority of Americans think it's not worth fighting, and many have said they don't want an increase in troops.

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