- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ret. Gen. Wesley K. Clark urged members of Congress Tuesday to adopt an exit strategy for American forces in Afghanistan.

Speaking to the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Clark said American leaders should strengthen the national partnership with Pakistan — including sharing intelligence regarding al Qaeda operations — and promote economic development in Afghanistan to undercut the drug trade fueled by growing poppies.

Gen. Clark, a former Democratic presidential candidate, praised President Barack Obama for taking his time in developing an Afghanistan strategy and said that any troop increase should wait until a firm endgame has been establsihed for U.S. Involvement in the country.

“The legacy of Vietnam really looms over these discussions,” said Gen. Clark, reflecting on his experience in Vietnam and the arc of one of the nation’s most painful wars.

“It’s particularly painful for me to see where we are in Afghanistan,” he said.

American forces commander Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal has requested up to 60,000 more American troops to support international forces. Pressure has built over the last three months on Mr. Obama to decide whether to support that call.

• Tom LoBianco can be reached at tlobianco@washingtontimes.com.

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