Afghanistan's top commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal made a blunt request for more troops in a confidential report to the Pentagon last month, warning that without more forces the war "will likely result in failure." The 66-page report, obtained by Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, contains repeated warnings of defeat and says his command is "not adequately executing the basics" of counterinsurgency, namely protecting Afghans against a sophisticated, multi-pronged enemy.
McChrystal's assessment also offers a relentlessly downbeat survey of the Afghan government, whose "widespread corruption and abuse of power" has resulted in "a crisis of confidence among Afghans." He says that his command, the International Security Assistance Force, is "preoccupied with protection of our own forces," creating distance "physically and psychologically" from those it seeks to help. McChrystal insists that "success is still achievable," but without both more troops and a new strategy, failure is inevitable.