• This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," September 26, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    PAUL GIGOT, FOX HOST: Coming up next...


    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We have sought in word and deed a new era of engagement with the world.


    GIGOT: President Obama's United Nations debut. He reaches out to the world, but he's wavering on Afghanistan.

    And the Medicare gag order, Senator Baucus sics federal regulators on an insurer who dares to criticize his health care plan.

    The "Journal Editorial Report" starts right now.


    OBAMA: That we have a clear and focused goal to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda and Pakistan and Afghanistan. To achieve our goals, we need a stronger, smarter, and comprehensive strategy, to focus on the greatest threat to our people, America must no longer deny resources to Afghanistan because of the war in Iraq.


    GIGOT: Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.

    That was President Barack Obama back in March, unveiling a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan. What a difference six months makes. The administration now appears to be having second thoughts just as his top commander there says he needs more troops to avoid defeat.

    Joining the panel this week, "Wall Street Journal" columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; columnist, Mary Anastasia O'Grady; deputy editor and foreign affairs columnist, Bret Stephens; and editorial features editor, Rob Pollock.

    The last time we talked about Afghanistan here, you predicted that the president would not have the staying power to stick it out in Iraq. Congratulations on your impressions. Why is he second guessing himself now?

    ROB POLLOCK, EDITORITAL FEATURES EDITOR: The news isn't exactly good. His commander, Stan McChrystal, says things aren't going well and I need more troops. Obama is saying, I don't know if I have the support out there for this. It's not polling well and the latest poll is 46 percent approval for the war in Afghanistan.

    Now it's not surprising that Obama is start to go rethink, but it's certainly makes me think twice about was he sincere when he turned Afghanistan, the good war or the war of necessity, as opposed to the war in Iraq.

    GIGOT: Wait, wait, wait, because of a strategy implemented six months ago, the polls have turned against you, and you haven't given a speech in the interim, by the way, on that war explaining what we're doing there, and because the general that you appointed and you told to tell you what you need has come back and now told you what he needs, you're saying, hey, I think we better reconsider this? Is that what you expect from a commander-in-chief?

    POLLOCK: It not what I expect. I'm only saying I'm not surprised by it.

    GIGOT: OK, well.