Although the Obama administration was well aware of the fact that, by Monday morning, everyone and his cousin knew about Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s warning about “mission failure” in Afghanistan, which the general had issued to the White House as part of a report that found its way into the clutches of Washington Post journalists, there will be no official call for more troops until an equally official request is submitted. —KA
[Spokesman Robert] Gibbs said the White House did not expect a formal request for more troops just yet. Gibbs’s comments came in response to a blunt assessment that McChrystal prepared for the US defence secretary, Robert Gates. A copy has been obtained by the Washington Post.
McChrystal was scathing about corruption within the Afghan government and the tactics used by the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) troops he took command of in June.
“Failure to provide adequate resources ... risks a longer conflict, greater casualties, higher overall costs and, ultimately, a critical loss of political support,” he wrote in the 66-page document. “Any of these risks, in turn, are likely to result in mission failure.”
According to the Washington Post, McChrystal has prepared a separate detailed request for additional troops and other resources, but defence officials told the newspaper he was awaiting instructions before sending it to the Pentagon. Obama has been forced to fend off accusations that the administration ordered McChrystal to hold back this formal request.
In the leaked report, McChrystal wrote that “Isaf requires more forces”, mentioning “previously validated, yet unsourced, requirements”—seemingly a reference to a request for 10,000 extra troops by his predecessor, General David McKiernan.
U.S. Army soldiers stand guard during a halt in a reconnaissance mission in Afghanistan in April 2007.