• This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," June 26, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    PAUL GIGOT, FOX HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," the Petraeus Hail Mary. Can the master of counterinsurgency turn the tide of the Afghan war? And will the president give him the support he needs to succeed? We'll ask a man who knows General Petraeus well.

    Plus, shaping the Supreme Court. A look ahead to next week's confirmation hearings for Obama nominee, Elena Kagan, and a look back at Justice Sonya Sotomayor's first term.

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

    President Obama's war plan in Afghanistan suffered another setback this week when his top commander there, General Stanley McChrystal, was forced to resign after comments he and his aides made to Rolling Stone magazine disparaging the president and his national security team. But the president says he has full confidence that the man he chose to replace McChrystal, General David Petraeus, will carry out his administration's strategy there.


    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We are in the midpoint of implementing the strategy that we came up with last year. We'll do a review at the end of this year. General Petraeus understands that strategy because he helped shape it. And my expectation is that he will be outstanding in implementing it and we will not miss a beat.


    GIGOT: Joining me now is a man who knows General Petraeus well. Fouad Ajami is the director of the Middle East Studies Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

    Fouad, welcome.


    GIGOT: Here is the irony. The President Obama, who opposed the surge in Iraq, now names the architect of that surge —

    AJAMI: Right.

    GIGOT: — To help rescue his Afghan surge. What do you make of that?

    AJAMI: Well, he has own — he has — this is a good surge as indeed the —

    GIGOT: As the president says, and a good war.

    AJAMI: Exactly, as Afghanistan was a good war, the war of necessity as opposed to Iraq, which was the bad war, the bad war of choice. I think, look, the president's strategy in Afghanistan is troubled. And what the president has done — and rightly, you can see what happened — is he has replaced a very talented, but indiscrete commander with a very talented, but discrete commander.

    And I think that General Petraeus is one of the most discrete commanders you'll ever meet. I've known him for many years and I've seen his command, mostly when he was a major general to Iraq, and this is a brilliant commander. But I think the war is not just about the commander in the battlefield. It's about the other commander, the commander-in-chief. And that is what we're going to find out, will be testing in the days to come.

    GIGOT: Do you think that General Petraeus, when he was asked by President Obama, look, would you do this —

    AJAMI: Right.