When U.S. troops led a coalition force into Iraq in 2003, many Americans - along with many members of Congress - heard what they wanted to hear in regard to the outlook for military involvement. Within just a few months it became clear that success in Iraq would require a long-haul commitment by the United States.
Let's not make the same mistake in regard to the war in Afganistan.
Last week, Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, President Barack Obama's choice to oversee U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan, testified in Congress. McChrystal said he believes the war against Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists in Afghanistan is "winnable."
We hope members of Congress heard what he said next. McChrystal predicted that substantially more U.S. resources - that means American lives as well as money - will have to be expended before the war is won. He said that progress will need to be shown within 18-24 months if Americans are to continue to support U.S. involvement.
In other words, McChrystal - simply by laying out a timetable of as much as two years for progress to be made in Afghanistan - believes it will take several years to defeat Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists.
That probably is a realistic assessment - but it is a prediction Americans and their elected representatives in Congress need to remember. It is essential that Islamic terrorists be denied a base in Afghanistan. However, that will require a major, realistic commitment from Americans.