Ironically, it's John McCain who might hold the key to whether President Obama's new policy in Afghanistan gets much Republican support in Congress. McCain friends say his instinct is to support the commander in chief, but he has serious doubts that Obama is truly committed to the Afghanistan war and that Obama will do what it takes to achieve success.
Congressional strategists say McCain's reaction also will give strong indications about whether the military itself embraces Obama's policy, since the Arizona senator is considered very close to America's professional soldiers.
McCain is a former prisoner of war in Vietnam and ex-military officer who has long specialized in national security issues. As Obama's Republican opponent in last year's presidential election, McCain tried to portray Obama as too weak, indecisive, and inexperienced on military issues. Now McCain is in the position of helping to determine how much support conservatives will give the man who defeated him. McCain is known to be concerned that Obama might have chosen a path in Afghanistan that is the minimal commitment to be credible politically at home but that really won't be effective in achieving success in the war.