AAM: "Perhaps we have to see: what do we call a win in Afghanistan?"

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John Roberts discusses the Iraq/Afghanistan war plans with Michael, Christiane Amanpour, and General George Joulwan (Ret.). During the discussion, Michael says he may soon be heading for Afghanistan. Stay tuned...

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Details about the president's plans for Iraq leaking out of the White House right now. The official announcement just a few hours away. But President Obama has been promising to turn the military's attention from Iraq to Afghanistan since the campaign trail.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will end this war in Iraq. End it.


ROBERTS: And a new CNN poll just out this morning finds more than two-thirds of Americans think that the president should pull our troops from Iraq. Mr. Obama says that he's going to have the combat troops out by August of 2010. That's just 19 months. Is that a realistic time frame?

Joining me now with a look at the president's plan, CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, our veteran Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware, and in Washington former NATO Supreme Commander General George Joulwan. He studied the progress of Iraqi security forces for Congress in 2007.

And General, let's start with you. This window of 19 months is three months longer than the president's original plan, but is it realistic to get all combat forces out of Iraq by August of next year?

GEN. GEORGE JOULWAN, FMR. NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Well, I think the key word they've used was responsible withdrawal. He's consulted with his military commanders on the ground, with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all recently. And he's come up with a plan that I believe his commanders and the Joint Chiefs support.

So I think it's doable. The key is going to be this year. We're going to have elections in July. We're going to have a national election in December. All of that will play into it and I think he will adjust as he goes along. But I think it is reasonable, given where we are now in Iraq.

ROBERTS: You know, of course, Christiane and Michael, not all of the troops are going to come out of Iraq. They're talking about a residual force of 35,000 to 50,000 in a, quote, "non-combat role." Is there such a thing as a non-combat role?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there is. You can be there. You can pull back and you can be there as a reserve to help in any emergency. I think the key, as General Joulwan said, it's not just this year, it is this year, but it's also beefing up the Iraqi security forces.

Look, we've been talking about this almost from the very beginning. The only way that the United States can pull out in a safe way is if the Iraqi security forces are up and running and capable of running and securing their country. And, also, if the elections go okay in December, whether there's a real chance of solidifying the notion of political pluralism.

ROBERTS: You know, Michael, some people say there is no such thing as a non-combat role for American troops in Baghdad. You spent so much time there. Would you agree or disagree with that?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is walking a fine line. And we did hear from the commanders on the ground there before the Bush administration signed a new agreement outlining the American withdrawal the "combat," "support" troops -- what do these definitions mean? What's a combat soldier? What's a support soldier?

You can stretch those definitions if you're not very careful. So, they will be restricted far more than even they are now. They won't be roaming the streets on patrols, so that their exposure will be way down, but Iraq is Iraq and anything could happen.

ROBERTS: Of course, as the troops draw down in Iraq, they will be beefing up the force in Afghanistan. General, we had a CNN/ Opinion Research Corporation poll out yesterday that found that 64 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. is not winning the war in Afghanistan. What are the goals going forward there and how do you define an end game in Afghanistan?

JOULWAN: Well, I think, really, I would talk an end state, not an end game or an end date. And I think what needs to be built up in Afghanistan, like Iraq, is civilian capacity and, in many cases, that's not military forces, it's civilian agencies. The military has to create the secure environment. That's absolutely necessary in Afghanistan.

And we saw what the surge did in Iraq, but it's the civilian agencies that are going to bring about true peace. And so, what we need to see is a balanced mixture of military and civilian agencies in Afghanistan. And I think the shift over to Afghanistan is very much in our national interests and it should take place sooner rather than later.

ROBERTS: Christiane and Michael, I was talking to former Senator Chuck Hagel last week. And I said to him, can the U.S. win in Afghanistan and he said, if you look at history, that would suggest no.

AMANPOUR: Well, you know, yes, but then today is not last century. And when the United States forces came into Afghanistan, they were welcomed after 9/11 when they sent the Taliban and al Qaeda packing. Some of the biggest Loya Jirgas that were held there, the big meetings there, had standing ovations for the United States and international troops.

So, we don't want to take a specious point from yesteryear and transplant it right now. The point is, what are the troops doing there? Are they going to help secure the place as General Joulwan said and make it possible for the vital nation-building? And this is the question which I have for this administration. Are they going to continue an environment where we can have nation building or are they just going to go against the militants and al Qaeda and I think it's very, very important they do both.

ROBERTS: Michael, you may be spending a lot of time there in the near future.

WARE: It's distinctly possible.

ROBERTS: Do you think that the U.S. can win in Afghanistan?

WARE: Well, it depends on a definition of a win is. As in Iraq, as the surge was unfolding, when General Petraeus took command of the war there, the goals and the aims, the definition of a win, was revised from this noble concept of a shining democracy as a beacon to the region to a state that can administer itself and poses no threat to the United States or the region. Perhaps we have to see what do we call a win in Afghanistan.

AMANPOUR: Well, I'm going next month and I know that there has been a huge amount of progress made and so, for the United States, it's vital to keep it and to secure that progress, for instance, in women's affairs and other such things. And by the way, there can be a non-U.S. combat role, it's possible. Look at Bosnia after the war there. Tens of thousands of U.S. and other forces -- they didn't go into combat, they kept the peace.

ROBERTS: Well, be safe, both of you, if you head over there. General Joulwan, thanks for being with us this morning. Appreciate it.

JOULWAN: Thank you.