The chief U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is reportedly prepared to ask President Obama for between 15,000 and 45,000 additional troops to manage a "deteriorating" situation. One gets the sense people expect Obama to accept something in the middle of that range. Certainly there's very little talk that he might deny any increase altogether.

But what, then, are we to make of Bob Woodward's reporting from less than two months ago, when he traveled to Afghanistan with National Security Advisor Jim Jones, where he met with a group of Marine commanders:

[I]f there were new requests for force now, the president would quite likely have "a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment." Everyone in the room caught the phonetic reference to WTF -- which in the military and elsewhere means "What the [expletive]?"

Nicholson and his colonels -- all or nearly all veterans of Iraq -- seemed to blanch at the unambiguous message that this might be all the troops they were going to get.

Jones, speaking with great emphasis to this group of Iraq veterans, said Afghanistan is not Iraq. "We are not going to build that empire again," he said flatly.

Or are we?