Monday, January 10, 2005


Word of the Day

metric: (1) [adjective] relating to measurement, especially measurement based upon the meter ("metric system"); (2) [adjective] having an ordered arrangement of syllables, as in poetry; (3) [noun] measure (new usage as developed by Donald Rumsfeld and the military)

I haven't found a dictionary containing meaning #3, but it is becoming so common that it will doubtless be included if this pompous bunch of jackasses remain in power. It is currently fashionable among MBAs. It apparently appeared as a noun in computer jargon as "software metric" a decade or so ago, which perhaps came out of mathematics.

Usage: "We are not in the business of trying to float timetables," the [senior administration] official insisted. "The only metric we have is when we can turn more and more over to local forces."—NY Times (yesterday)

"Today 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' the schools 'and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?... It is pretty clear that the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another, but it will be a long, hard slog.'"—Donald Rumsfeld memo of October 16, 2003

"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."—Donald Rumsfeld, talking with Tim Russert

Can you now make an intelligent guess as to who the "senior administration official" of the first quote might be?

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