The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan bitterly complained in an interview Sunday about the Pentagon bureaucracy that he said was hampering his efforts to fight insurgents.
In a profile on CBS television's "60 minutes," Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he faced pressure to move quickly from Defense Secretary Robert Gates while the Pentagon had moved slowly to get officers assigned to his staff.
"The secretary talks in terms of 12 to 18 months to show a significant change and then we eat up two or three months just on sort of getting the tools out of the tool box," McChrystal said, according to a transcript of the show to air later Sunday.
"That really hurts," said McChrystal, shown in a video conference with the Pentagon.
The four-star army general, who was appointed to lead U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan in June after the previous commander was sacked, demanded the Defense Department had to move with more urgency.
"The average organization when someone asks when you want something, they pull out a calendar," he said.
"But in a good organization, they look at their watch and we really got to get that way."
McChrystal said he was slightly surprised by the strength of the insurgency when he took over his post.
"I think that in some areas that the breadth of violence, the geographic spread of violence -- places to the north and to the west -- are a little more than I would have gathered," he said.
He also repeated his warning that if the NATO-led mission was perceived as an occupier that posed a threat to civilians, the war would be lost.
"If the people view us as occupiers and the enemy, we can't be successful and our casualties will go up dramatically," he said.
McChrystal said 265 civilians had been killed by U.S. or allied forces in the past 12 months.
In a quarterly report released Saturday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 1,500 civilians had died between January and August, with August the deadliest month so far this year.
Military officials have credited McChrystal with reducing civilian casualties in recent months by ordering a change in tactics, including scaling back the use of air strikes and artillery fire, as well as requiring soldiers to exercise more caution when driving on Afghan roads.