Army officers gathered at a convention in Washington this week said senior White House officials should not have rebuked Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, for saying publicly that a scaled-back war effort would not succeed.
McChrystal may well have been pulling a "General Patton" on this, but there is every reason to believe he was simply trying to prove his case publicly for more troops.
Unless the mission is completely redefined there is no path for "victory" here, with the US and NATO military just continuing to do what hasn't worked, with the current troop strength.
But there is a growing anger in the military about how the war in Afghanistan is being conducted, and the hard reality that the Taliban is now resurgent, in spite of the best efforts of US and NATO military. The comparisons to Viet Nam are inescapable, eight years on.
Only if a complete destabilization of Afghanistan, coupled with a massive rise in the drug trade, was precisely what the Pentagon and the White House wanted here, can we say "mission accomplished" in Afghanistan.