Old Bob Woodward has a piece in today's Washington Post about a memo sent from top Afghanistan commander General McChrystal to the administration, assessing conditions on the ground. The conclusion- things are really bad:
McChrystal describes an Afghan government riddled with corruption and an international force undermined by tactics that alienate civilians.
He provides extensive new details about the Taliban insurgency, which he calls a muscular and sophisticated enemy that uses modern propaganda and systematically reaches into Afghanistan's prisons to recruit members and even plan operations.McChrystal even used the term "crisis of confidence", perhaps forgetting that Jimmy Carter was still alive. Here's another gem:
"Afghan social, political, economic, and cultural affairs are complex and poorly understood. ISAF does not sufficiently appreciate the dynamics in local communities, nor how the insurgency, corruption, incompetent officials, power-brokers, and criminality all combine to affect the Afghan population."
Better late than never on the "Afghanistan is complicated" party. The solution? As Billy Idol would say, it's more, more, more. McChrystal wants at least 10,000 more troops, and he wants them going on more dangerous missions. More on this later today as the new cycle unwinds, and Gibbs and co. are sent in to clarify.