Winning, Regardless of What the Enemy Does

National Public Radio interviewed a U.S. General George W. Casey in Baghdad this morning, to talk about the progress of the war. Because Bush Jong Il yesterday was so keen to say he believes success is possible and that the commanders on the ground would ask for a new strategy if they believed their current one wasn’t succeeding.

(Sure they would…)

Anyway, the interviewer pointed out the huge increase in insurgent attacks over the last three years, from under 20 per day at the outset of the resistance to more than 90 per day now. The general said yes, attacks are up, but even one gunshot counts as an attack and most of those attacks are not effective, so we shouldn’t read too much into those figures.

And then General Casey said something so utterly and confoundedly stupid that it simply boggles the mind and buggers the imagination:

You shouldn’t be put in the position where your success is judged by enemy actions.

Affecting enemy action is the whole point of war. Why else bomb, shoot and attack if not to reduce enemy action or force the enemy to change his mind and make him give up? What other measure of success do you have? Rounds expended? Operations conducted? Dead bodies counted? Schools built and painted? I’m trying to find a suitable metaphor for this, but one is not coming. Maybe it’s akin to saying that profits ought not to determine the success of a business venture. We all know how that ends.