WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John McCain said any added military deployment in Afghanistan smaller than the 40,000 troops reportedly requested by the top U.S. commander there "would be an error of historic proportions."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/10/11/mccain.afghanistan/art.mccain.sotu.cnn.jpg caption="Sen. John McCain talks with CNN's John King about Afghanistan, health care reform, and Sarah Palin."]
Asked whether he thought the war in Afghanistan could be won with fewer troops than Gen. Stanley McChrystal has reportedly requested, McCain said, "I do not."
The Arizona Republican, who was defeated by President Obama in the 2008 presidential election, spoke in a wide-ranging interview that aired Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
"I think the great danger now is a half-measure, sort of a - you know, try to please all ends of the political spectrum," McCain told CNN chief national correspondent John 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 Adm. 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.