(Art by Banksy; photo by Trois Têtes via Flickr.)

This morning, Attackerman aptly skewered both the tone and the PR-heavy nature of the New York Times‘ article on the evolving relationship between President Obama and Gen. David Petraeus.

But I couldn’t get past the substance, such as it was, in the story’s opening paragraphs:

Come December, when the president intends to assess his Afghan strategy, he will be able to claim tangible successes, General Petraeus predicted by secure video hookup from Kabul, according to administration officials.

The general said that the American military would have substantially enlarged the “oil spot” — military jargon for secure area — around Kabul. It will have expanded American control farther outside of Kandahar, the Taliban heartland. And, the aides recalled, the general said the military would have reintegrated a significant number of former Taliban fighters in the south.

He essentially promised the president very bankable results,” one administration official said. (Others in the room characterized the commander’s list more as objectives than promises.)

Are we really far enough past the financial industry’s free-fall in late 2008 that it’s safe to use “bankable” as a synonym for something meaningful (in a positive sense)?  You’d think, if nothing else, that officials from this politically hypersensitive administration would know better.  For most of us ordinary folks, to say that something is “bankable” still carries connotations of “You might as well cut out the middleman and flush it down the toilet yourself.”

Then again, especially given the immediate caveat that Petraeus’s assurances could prove illusory, maybe the anonymous official’s choice of words was unintentionally accurate.  Certainly our ongoing attempt at occupying Afghanistan would meet a worst-case-scenario definition of a “troubled asset.”