Progress Report


Last week a prominent analyst of military affairs attempted to add up America's successes and failures in the war on terror. His conclusions:

* We are having mixed results with Al Qaida, although we have put considerable pressure on them—nonetheless, a great many remain at large.

* USG [the United States government] has made reasonable progress in capturing or killing the top 55 Iraqis.

* USG has made somewhat slower progress tracking down the Taliban—Omar, Hekmatyar, etc.

* With respect to the Ansar Al-Islam, we are just getting started.

The writer feels that "the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another," but notes that "it will be a long, hard slog." The Defense Department, meanwhile, "has been organized, trained and equipped to fight big armies, navies and air forces. It is not possible to change DoD fast enough to successfully fight the global war on terror; an alternative might be to try to fashion a new institution, either within DoD or elsewhere—one that seamlessly focuses the capabilities of several departments and agencies on this key problem."

"Today," he adds, "we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?"

You've probably already heard—I'm blogging this a few hours late—but the analyst in question is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in a memo to other U.S. officials. It's not a gloomy report, but it's a lot more sour than his public fa?ade. The full text is here.