Vietnam 2005

Ever since Vietnam, military strategists have agreed using enemy body counts is a useless benchmark for success.

Conrad Crane, director of the Military History Institute at the U.S. Army War College: “It was a pretty useless statistic that did more harm than good.”

Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, on attempt to quantify success in Grenada: “We need to stay away from this body count business. It caused us terrible trouble in Vietnam and it will cause us terrible trouble here.”

Gen. Tommy Franks, 3/18/02: “You know we don’t do body counts.”

Sec. Donald Rumsfeld, 11/2/03: “We don’t do body counts on other people.”

The Washington Post, however, reported last week:

Using enemy body counts as a benchmark, the U.S. military claimed gains against Abu Musab Zarqawi’s foreign-led fighters last week even as they mounted their deadliest attacks on Iraq’s capital.

Question: Why is the Pentagon now using enemy body counts as a measure of success/failure?