On the Sunday before Labor Day I was presented with two different and conflicting views of leadership in war. The first was in this newspaper's editorial. There, President Bush's leadership was praised for being "strong" and "decisive."
The contrasting view was a passage from the 14th chapter of Luke's gospel read from the pulpit in church that morning. In it, Jesus says: "Would any of you think of building a tower without first sitting down and counting the cost, to see whether he could afford to finish it? ... Or what king will march to battle against another king, without first sitting down to consider whether with ten thousand men he can face an enemy coming to meet him with twenty thousand?"
What is striking about the first view is its purely quantitative standard of assessment. "Decisive" seems to mean that Bush made up his mind quickly (a small quantity of time). "Strong" seems to mean that he is resolute, that he keeps on sticking (a large quantity of time) to the hastily made decision. The second view, despite its reference to numbers, is focused on qualitative concerns such as effectiveness and success.