Stephanopoulos: Petraeus in Charge – Now What?

By Kate McCarthy

Jun 24, 2010 8:49am

Well it seems that by appointing General Petraeus to oversee the war in Afghanistan President Obama got himself out of one tight box following the General McChrystal controversy. But now he faces a perilous strategy that many people –especially Senator John McCain –have concerns about.

McCain told me this morning on “GMA” that more troops are needed in Afghanistan and he called for a change in civilian leadership, suggesting that the former Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, should follow Petraeus over to Afghanistan and replace Ambassador Eikenberry.

But one topic McCain is certain to ask Petraeus in the upcoming confirmation hearing is the July 2011 withdrawal date.

“We cannot tell the enemy when you are leaving in warfare and expect your strategy to be able to prevail,” McCain said. “That’s just a fundamental of warfare.”

Petraeus has toed the line on the July 2011 date. While sources tell me that yesterday the general assured Obama he would support the deadline, he has signaled to Congress that perhaps that date is flexible. 

“He is going to say that he is going to give his best advice based on conditions in Afghanistan and I am very concerned about that ambiguity which is sounding an uncertain trumpet not only in Afghanistan but in other parts of that region as well,” McCain said.

It will certainly be a hot topic at the hearing – and the key policy question as Petraeus takes over the war.

Watch my analysis below and click here to see my interview with Senator McCain.

George Stephanopoulos

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