Thursday, December 01, 2005

Old School "Metrics" : Vietnam 1965



Recall this? No? Okay, then how about this? Ok.

Now , click on the chart above to see, in all its ridiculous detail, an example of how the Pentagon, pre-PowerPoint, used "metrics" to explain how we were winning the Vietnam War in 1965.

"Metrics," you may recall is one of the managerial banalities Don Rumsfeld said we needed to determine whether or not we are winning the War on Terror and the Iraq war.

After all, how often can you take and re-take towns and villages, before people say , "how much does this cost?" and/or "what are we doing?"

The Vietnam War lasted ten more years after the above chart was first used by a defensive, cliped, Ivy League, ex-CEO, wire-rimmed eye glass wearing, metrics oriented SecDef, to explain why we were well on our way to victory.

Robert S. McNamara, much like his D.C. neighbor Donald Rumsfeld, arrived at the Pentagon with dreams of efficiency and the possiblity of technological trasformation.

McNamara served a Texan President who was intelligent, yet inarticulate and oddly insecure. Rumsfeld now serves a President who shares those qualities. Bush is very intelligent, albeit in his own inexplicably unique way.

LBJ succeeded JFK, a popular, articulate, and charismatic Democrat whose reportedly roguish ways and allegedly liberal programs stoked much much ire on the right.

Bush succeeded the roguish Clinton, promising to supercede his allegedly liberal programs.

McNamara metrics in 1965 and Rumsfeld metrics two score hence, tell a tale that's been more than twice told in days gone by. Must we wait another ten years for this version to conclude?

Chart source: Washington Expose, Jack Anderson, p. 295; Public Affairs. 1967. LOC # 67-14902