Hold on tight. This one's is gonna be a ripsnorter.
This week we will witness the a significant moment in modern history. General David Petreaus will issue his status report to Congress detailing the results reflected in the Surge as dictated by President Bush in January this year. Sometime in and about the millisecond he opens his mouth, if not sooner, the politicians, pundits and presidential disseminators, will go to great lengths to explain the general's explanation.
So it is that some instructions are necessary to help the layman understand the spin.
Main Entry: bench-mark
1 usually bench mark : a mark on a permanent object indicating elevation and serving as a reference in topographic surveys and tidal observations
2 a : a point of reference from which measurements may be made b : something that serves as a standard by which others may be measured or judged c : a standardized problem or test that serves as a basis for evaluation or comparison (as of computer system performance)
Right away we got ourselves a problem. #2 presents us not with an objective, say like when the President told us...
"(So) America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced. To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis."
Instead, #2 calls for "a basis of evaluation." Hypothetically, if the general says that the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November has failed and that Iraq was unable to even come close to pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis, then the President (or Fox News) can say something to the effect that, "based on General Petreaus's evaluation of where we are right now, we are further along than we were yesterday and based on that we should be further along tomorrow. I.e. progress. "
Meanwhile, those who say the benchmark was #1, setting "a mark on a permanent object" that indicates success or failure to meet an actual, um, benchmark. Say, like, "The Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November has failed and that Iraq was unable to even come close to pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis," then the Democrats can say something to the effect that, "based on General Petreaus's report, the November permanent mark will not be met. I.e: failure.
See. It always comes down to a choice. Say like, Bill O'Reilly or Keith Olbermann. Y'picks whatcha wants and y'stands your ground. And the best part of this is that everyone turns out to be right.
Ain't Democracy great?
Hope this helps you out.
Enjoy your Monday
Steve Young is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" www.greatfailure.com and his weekly Sunday column appears every Sunday just to the left of Bill O'Reilly's in the L.A. Daily News