Last week, David Broder wrote about the July 11 deadline for the Defense Department to provide Congress with a "comprehensive set of performance indicators and measures of stability and security". Think Progress followed up yesterday with a note that the Defense Department missed the deadline:
Today, a Pentagon spokesperson told me that those Iraq indicators have indeed been "delayed" and that there is currently no specific date set for their release.
Let's go all the way back to November 15, 2003, where Rumsfeld was already talking about the importance of metrics in the war on terror:
The question is, that I posed, and I don't know the answer, is how many new terrorists are being made. How many of these schools are being led by radical clerics and are teaching people that the thing they should do with their lives is to go out and kill innocent men, women and children to stop progress, to torture people, to prevent women from being involved in their country's activities. How many schools are doing that and how many people are being produced by that? And the question I posed was: you can't know in this battle of ideas how it's coming out unless you have some metric to judge that and there isn't such a metric. It doesn't exist. Therefore, my point was in the memo, that I think we need, the world needs, to think about other things we can do to reduce the number of schools that teach terrorism.
Note that in this instance, Rumsfeld is specifically not talking about the need for metrics in Iraq. "We know what's happening there", he said.
Rumsfeld believes in metrics. He has metrics -- lots of them. He is choosing not to provide those metrics to Congress:
On May 23, Rumsfeld told NPR:
Well, we've got literally dozens of ways we [measure progress]. We have a room here, the Iraq Room where we track a whole series of metrics. Some of them are inputs and some of them are outputs, results, and obviously the inputs are easier to do and less important, and the outputs are vastly more important and more difficult to do.
We track, for example, the numbers of attacks by area. We track the types of attacks by area. And what we're seeing, for example, and one metric is presented graphically and it shows that we had spiked up during the sovereignty pass to the Iraqi people and spiked up again during the election, and are now back down to the pre-sovereignty levels which are considerably lower...[W]e track a number of reports of intimidation, attempts at intimidation or assassination of government officials, for example. We track the extent to which people are supplying intelligence to our people so that they can go in and actually track down and capture or kill insurgents. We try to desegregate the people we've captured and look at what they are. Are they foreign fighters, Jihadist types? Are they criminals who were paid money to go do something like that? Are they former regime elements, Ba'athists? And we try to keep track of what those numbers are in terms of detainees and people that are processed in that way.... No one number is determinative, and the answer is no. We probably look at 50, 60, 70 different types of metrics, and come away with them with an impression. It's impressionistic more than determinative.
On May 27, Rumsfeld had a joint briefing with General George Casey. Casey said:
GEN. CASEY: Yeah. I think that's a -- but that's a great question, because we ought not all get focused just on an attack, on the attacks as a measure of success in Iraq. In fact, we have been developing counter-insurgency metrics, where we look at a range of different variables. For example, tips. Are the people coming forward and giving information that helps us and our Iraqi security force counterparts deal with the insurgency? Political development and inclusion: is the political process still going forward? Are people still being brought into the political process? Do they want to be brought into the political process? And there's economic development indicators as well.
And in response to a different question, Casey said:
Now, to your -- the gist of your question, that -- with Iraqi security forces. In January, the first of January this year, there were no Iraqi divisions. The divisions weren't constituted until the sixth of January. It wasn't until the 1st of March that those Iraqi divisions were actually assigned pieces of Iraq that they were responsible for. And it was also at that time that they were partnered with our divisions so that we could begin additional training support. It wasn't until the first of May where we were able to build a training and readiness metric, much like our own status report here, to measure the capabilities of the Iraqi forces holistically: personnel, readiness, leadership, training -- the whole bit, just like we do that. So, we just got our baseline assessment here the first of June. But we're starting to see -- and they are starting to be able to project -- when they may be capable of assuming battle space.