Thursday, November 12, 2009

Strategy and Objectives

The president wants to make it clear that
The U.S. commitment in Afghanistan is not open-ended.
How many additional troops would be sent, he asks,
And what is the timeline for their presence in the war zone?

The war is now in its ninth year and is
Claiming U.S. lives at a record pace.
Military leaders say the Taliban
Has the upper hand in many parts of the country.

(AP dispatch, November 12, 2009)

The old management professor asks,
What are our interests in this theater?
What are we attempting to accomplish?
How will we know that we have succeeded?

Then, and only then, can the following decisions be made:
A plan for getting the job done.
The resources necessary for executing the plan.
Measurements of success at stated intervals.

If we don't have these in place, we are throwing
Young lives into futile gestures.
The president is correct in raising concrete demands.
He answers to the people whose sons and daughters are at risk.

Monday, November 2, 2009

From a Minor Prophet

In the third century of that great nation, a false messiah captivated the people.
He promised to make their bodies whole and their spirits soar.
He tried to achieve peace with foreign countries by apologizing for past wrongs.
He wasted the lives of young warriors in futile pursuit of fleeing enemies.

The word of The Lord came to the prophet in a dream.
Proclaim the errors of the king to all who would listen,
For he is wasting the substance of his subjects.
Soon both the treasury and the granaries will be no more.

The king would not listen.
He was not an evil man, but a proud man,
Who believed that The Lord had anointed him to accomplish the impossible.
By wishing, and by speaking, he could make miracles happen.

The prophet warned him that he was worshiping hubris, a false god.
The warnings of the prophet were echoed by wise persons.
You will be judged by history as a wastrel, full of empty ambition.
So the king repented, and put on sackcloth and ashes.

He withdrew his brave young people from harm's way.
He stopped the plan to cure all illness with money alone.
He banished the courtiers who would control all aspects of his subjects' lives.
He restored the soundness of the treasury by eliminating needless spending.
He sought common ground for the improvement of the nation and the world.
And The Lord rewarded him for wise rule by giving him a peaceful reign.