Taliban suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan and America's bloodiest month in Afghanistan are sharpening President Barack Obama's dilemma on troop deployments while stoking political demands for swifter action.
"We watch this situation continue to deteriorate while this long protracted process of decision making goes on," Republican Senator John McCain told media on Wednesday.
"We are not operating in a vacuum. The president of the United States needs to make this decision and soon. Our allies are nervous and our military leadership is becoming frustrated."
McCain said in a nationally broadcast interview that the war policy in Afghanistan "has been reviewed time and again" and that it's now time to act.
Interviewed with media, the Arizona Republican said the drawn-out decision-making process on Afghanistan "is not helpful to our effort" in the wartorn nation.
The White House counters that Obama's soul searching is justified by the gravity of his choice on whether to plunge tens of thousands of people into the worsening war.
"I don't think the American people agree with Senator McCain on that," Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said. "I think it's important to hear and to get this right."
Already fragile US public opinion on the war is being tested by a rush of recent casualties in Afghanistan, with October the bloodiest month for American troops of the eight-year conflict so far.
Vicious bombings in Pakistan -- the latest killing 106 people in a Peshawar market Wednesday -- are meanwhile stirring new fears of instability and concern for the US-allied government in Islamabad.
And the fraud-tainted Afghan election, political maneuvering over the run-off, and a brazen Taliban attack on a UN compound in Kabul which killed eight people will hardly stem skepticism of the US Afghan mission.
Republicans see the turmoil of recent days as a sign Obama must honor war commander General Stanley McChrystal's request for 40,000 more troops.
But Democratic Senator Russ Feingold spoke for many war opponents when he said he wanted success in Afghanistan but not at any price.