His comment tied in with something I had read earlier in a transcript from a news briefing with Deputy Director for Operations, Joint Staff Brig. Gen. Perry Wiggins.
Q General, I noticed that you mentioned both in talking about Iraq and Afghanistan the number of enemies that have been killed. Do you think that the enemy body counts is a real measure of success in these operations?
GEN. WIGGINS: I can tell you that, personally, I don't think that that's necessarily an indicator, particularly when we're looking at military efforts alone are not going to win the fight, whether it's Afghanistan or whether it's in Iraq. You know, we're primarily providing security in order to shape and give time and space to the Iraqi and Afghan governments so that they can formulate their security forces in order to take the fight to the Taliban and take it to al Qaeda, particularly in those two countries.
So body counts is not necessarily something that we get into. It's not something that I advocated as a success measure or gauged success on, but I can tell you that those are just indicators that we're taking the fight to the enemy, the enemy's still there. It's also indicators that it's still a dangerous place out there, and -- but as far as success can be measured, I think we measure success on the security, primarily securing the population, enabling governance to take place within Iraq and Afghanistan. Those are the important indicators that we look at.
And while I understand that body counts are not the ONLY indicator of success, one of the things that I think the military and the White House have dropped the ball with regard to is public perception. Americans are relatively smart people but "people" in general are NOT. If all they hear is that we've lost 108 servicemembers in June 2007 then their PERCEPTION is that we are getting our asses kicked. There has to be a way - a balance - in order to counter the drumming that we've "lost the war" (#%@& off Harry Reid). And we've not yet found it.