- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 1, 2009

Top U.S. military officials may retire or resign unless President Obama quickly sets forth a clear plan on winning the war in Afghanistan, including whether to send more troop to stop insurgents, says Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican.

“If he doesn’t deploy a successful strategy that might happen,” said Mr. Ryan, ranking member of the House Budget Committee. “The president has time to think this through, but not a lot of time because right now we have a strategy that’s not working.”

Mr. Ryan’s comments follow similar ones made recently by Republican lawmakers, include those made Wednesday by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican.

Mr. Ryan told The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show the exodus could ripple through the top ranks, including those at U.S. Central Command.

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, has denied that he plans to or has discussed resigning.

Mr. Ryan said Mr. Obama needs to either get out of Afghanistan or deploy enough troops to secure soldiers’ relative safety.

“The worst is the muddling through the middle,” he said.

Gen. McChrystal has reportedly asked for 30,000 to 40,000 additional troops, but the president has yet to make a decision.

“Until I’m satisfied that we’ve got the right strategy, I’m not going to be sending some young man or woman over there — beyond what we already have,” Mr. Obama recently said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Mr. Obama has already promised an additional 21,000 reinforcements, which would bring the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to 68,000 by this fall.

The president has held two high-level meetings with military officials and advisers, including one Wednesday, and is expected to meet three more times before making a policy decision.

“We’re going to take the time that’s necessary to get the policy right,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said before the meeting Wednesday.

The U.S. death toll in Afghanistan right now is 223, compared to 155 for 2008.

Mr. Ryan said if the president fails to “turn this thing around, then I would think you’ll see those kind of resignations. They’ll say, ‘If you’re not going to give me what I need to win this war, why would I stay.’ ”

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