WASHINGTON (CNN) — Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain said any added military deployment in Afghanistan less than the 40,000 troops reportedly requested by the top U.S. commander in that war-torn land “would be an error of historic proportions.”
Asked by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King whether he thought the war in Afghanistan could be won with less than the troops said to be requested by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, McCain replied frankly in a wide-ranging interview that airs Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I do not,” said McCain, who was defeated by President Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.
“And I think the great danger now is a half-measure, sort of a — you know, try[ing] to please all ends of the political spectrum,” McCain told King. “And, again, I have great sympathy for the president, making the toughest decisions that presidents have to make, but I think he needs to use deliberate speed.”
Disregarding requirements that have been “laid out and agreed to” by Central Command head Gen. David Petraeus and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen “would be an error of historic proportions,” McCain said when asked whether 10,000 or 20,000 additional troops in Afghanistan would suffice.
–CNN’s Martina Stewart contributed to this report.