Washington (CNN) – The number two Republican in the Senate said Sunday that his party generally supports President Obama’s recently announced surge strategy in Afghanistan. But, added Sen. John Kyl, by announcing a date to begin to draw down the additional U.S. troops sent as part of the surge, the president had “complicated matters” in the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan.
After roughly three months of deliberation, President Obama announced last week that he has ordered 30,000 additional troops to be sent to Afghanistan. As part of the new strategy, Obama also informed the nation and the world that the U.S. would begin to remove those troops in July 2011, depending upon the conditions on the ground in the war-torn country.
Republicans “are supportive of the president,” Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “They want this mission to succeed very much and we will do everything we can to support his policy.”
But, Kyl quickly added, “I think he has complicated matters by having this firm beginning-of-withdrawal date. He said it is chiseled in stone. But what happens the day after [Obama’s drawdown date] and how many troops come down, I think is the question. And, as long as that’s condition-based, it has a chance of succeeding.
“The reason I said it complicates matters is that in war, will matters. In fact, the whole object of war is to break the will of the enemy to fight.”
Kyl added that in order to win support from the Pakistanis, the Afghans, and NATO, the U.S. needs to demonstrate a firm commitment to fighting the war in Afghanistan.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein disagreed with Kyl about the president’s decision to announce a drawdown date.
Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on State of the Union that she was satisfied with the mid-2011 date.
“I think it’s a transitional period,“ Feinstein told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “I think it sets a goal. I think it enables an evaluation. I think it’s a concentrated sense of attention. And, if you can begin to remove troops, that will happen.”
Earlier on State of the Union, Obama National Security Adviser James Jones described the mid-July 2011 as a “ramp” or “glide slope” rather than a “cliff.”
“We are here to see that Afghanistan succeeds,” Jones told King.
Jones also said Sunday that a more complete draw down in Afghanistan will be based on the Afghan government’s progress in terms of its capability to provide security.
In a taped, exclusive interview set to air Sunday afternoon on CNN’s Amanpour, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his country would make its best effort in the next two years but at the same time cautioned that international community should be patient with Afghanistan as it attempts to stand up its own security and policy forces. Karzai estimated that it would take until 2014 for his government to be able to secure the country.