Metrics for Afghanistan

Karen DeYoung reports that the administration is getting ready to reveal them:

The White House has assembled a list of about 50 measurements to gauge progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan as it tries to calm rising public and congressional anxiety about its war strategy.

Administration officials are conducting what one called a “test run” of the metrics, comparing current numbers in a range of categories — including newly trained Afghan army recruits, Pakistani counterinsurgency missions and on-time delivery of promised U.S. resources — with baselines set earlier in the year. The results will be used to fine-tune the list before it is presented to Congress by Sept. 24.

I think writing down metrics is a good exercise primarily because it requires you to get clearer about what you’re trying to do. “Winning” is great, but it’s important to attach some more specific content to that idea. That said, defining metrics naturally raises the question of what do you do if you’re not meeting them. Change your approach? Abandon the goals? For example, we want to see less corruption in the Karzai government. But maybe 18 months from now, it’ll be slightly more corrupt. What happens then? Do we say, “Well, you guys are corrupt and obstinate so we’re through with you?” Or do we start trying to poke around and bring different leaders to office?

At any rate, can’t have metrics-blogging without Metric videos. This is “Succexy”:

Good times.