After generally rejecting body counts as standards of success in the Iraq war, the U.S. military last week embraced them -- just as it did during the Vietnam War. As the carnage grew in Baghdad, U.S. officials produced charts showing the number of suspects killed or detained in offensives in the west.
[Major General Rick] Lynch, the military spokesman, cited killings and detentions of 1,534 insurgents in the region. The fact that the number of insurgents killed or captured in the northern city of Tall Afar was roughly equal to advance estimates of their strength, he said, was proof that insurgents weren't simply escaping to fight another day -- and that U.S. forces were doing more than razing infrastructure. "Zarqawi is on the ropes," Lynch told reporters.
"On the ropes," General? What does that remind me of?
The military types turning to body count as a measure of effectiveness know it isn't one. But they're plumb out of anything else to manufacture "good news" from.