Lt. Matthew Cancian, the Dave Goldich of active-duty Marines, has a good piece in the January issue of Marine Corps Gazette criticizing commanders who pretend to be carrying out a counterinsurgency campaign without really doing it:
We go through the motions of counterinsurgency without focusing on what really matters. This leads to a focus on process metrics instead of outcome....We patrol in order to be able to report hours spent patrolling.
Tom again: Anytime you see someone focusing on their inputs (time and other resources expended) rather than their results, you should be suspicious. This is true in civilian life as well as in the military, I think.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.