Yesterday when I mocked Christopher Grey for using the phrase operational tempo, I was totally out of line. Put it down to failure of imagination. I simply failed to appreciate the full potential of this versatile, all-purpose workhorse of a phrase. (I think government spokesmen and women are required to say â€œlatent potentialityâ€, but till the call comes Iâ€™ll stick with full potential.)
It can be used to provide non-information on any hopeless or hopelessly bogged down situation.
Why have the prospects for peace in the Middle East gone to hell in a hand-basket so quickly? You guessed it, operational tempo.
What have we made so little progress in Iraq during the last year? Operational tempo.
What is the chief difficulty we face in defusing the sectarian tensions that are the chief threat to the dreams of a prosperous democracy in Iraq that we sold to the American people and the Iraqi people? Operational tempo.
If the Republicans do manage to lose control of the House or the Senate (or both) in November, what will be the primary cause? Operational tempo.
If you get bored, you can always introduce a harmless mutation, to keep it all fresh. Situational tempo. Institutional tempo. The possibilities are endless.
I sincerely hope Christopher Grey has the sense to go out and copyright these phrases. Just in case the government spokesman gravy train dries up down the road.