You know a I've been seeing a lot of people take Kerry's capabilities to fight the war for granted. Andrew Sullivan has talked about the war this way. Megan McArdle has too. Basically, they think that Kerry will be stuck fighting the war and the only way out is through. They are counting on the fact that there is not morally acceptable or politically expedient solution to the problem other than victory. It has raised a couple questions for me.
The first is: What happens when violence escalates after Kerry wins?
It will you know. If the terrorists and insurgents retain any capacity to do so, they will want to test the new guy and see how he reacts. These are called probing attacks and the terrorists do them too. Will he pull a Clinton; drop some token bombs and then pull out? Will he pull a Bush and redouble his efforts?
In the end, the only thing keeping Kerry in Iraq is public opinion on the war. With sufficient effort from the terrorists (to increase body count) and his leadership (to get the hell out) that public opinion can be changed. The reason things aren't collapsing right now is that the current leadership is firmly entrenched in the steadfast resolve camp. What happens when the current leadership is in the "I inherented this from the last guy, but I don't think it was a good idea, and really don't want to do it" camp. I don't think he has the resolve here to see this through or understands its importance to the global War.
The second question is: What happens after Iraq?
What happens with the Global War on Terror? Even if he stays committed and we withdraw with a real tangible victory, what then? The military is going to need to recoup its wartime losses in money and manpower. Is Kerry going to do that? Not if his voting record in the Senate is any indicator. Kerry never met a military program he didn't want to slash. After the war is over and we need to rearm and rebuild the troops back to their pre-war levels, I seriously doubt Kerry will want to spend the money. His Great Society II social programming is going to take precidence and thats bad.
The real big problem is that just going through the Iraq War isn't enough. Iraq isn't the end of the War on Terror. We need to be able to keep the pressure on the terrorist supporting nations and we will still need our military to do that. I don't trust Kerry to maintain and lead them beyond Iraq. I don't think he understands how 9/11 changed the world and I don't think his foriegn policy will be effective at keeping the pressure on.