McCain urges Obama to speed up Afghan decision

AP News
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Posted: Nov 20, 2009 5:14 PM

U.S. Sen. John McCain predicted success in the Afghan war effort Friday if President Barack Obama makes a decision quickly to send the reinforcements requested by his top commander there.

The Arizona senator told a news conference at the Halifax International Security Forum that the delay in reaching a decision on Afghan strategy is creating uncertainty within the military as the situation in Afghanistan continues to worsen.

"More and more of our young men and woman are either killed or wounded so that lends urgency to the decision-making process," said McCain, the former Republican presidential candidate.

McCain said he met with soldiers at a memorial at Fort Hood, Texas, to the victims of the Nov. 5 shooting rampage on the Army post that left 13 dead. He said the soldiers were questioning why a decision has been put off when the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, says the situation is deteriorating.

Obama is expected to soon approve an increase in the already record U.S. force of 68,000 in Afghanistan. Months of deliberations over the flagging war are ending, with an announcement of a substantial troop increase expected in the next two weeks.

But it is not clear whether Obama will deploy all the reinforcements that McChrystal says are needed. Republicans have accused Obama of dithering about making a decision.

McCain expressed confidence that the war against Taliban insurgents could still be turned around.

"I even am bold enough to predict that within a year or 18 months you will see success if the effort is sufficiently resourced and there is a commitment to get the job done before setting a date to leave the region," McCain said.