Then there was Senator John McCain saying of the US military’s backseat role in Libya: "It's too bad and I would love to see our assets back in the fight." He wasn’t talking about stopped clocks but from NATO’s pathetic performance since that US step-back he might as well have.
Why would anybody call an A10 tank buster plane an asset? Partly, for the same reason passengers on trains are now called “customers” or hospital patients “clients”. It is managerialism run riot. In military matters, the reason is creepier: it is to obscure the fact that these weapons kill people (“collateral damage” comes from the same stable). But what earthly purpose is served by a doctor calling an expectant mother by the dehumanizing appellation “client”?
Civilization progresses by way of finer and finer distinctions. If you start to reduce the distinctions between different things, there is a loss of sensitivity of understanding. There are perhaps 2-30 million living species on the plant but, hey, why bother with names, let’s just call them all “bioforms”.
Again, perhaps the rise of the “asset” reflects a society dominated by bean-counters. Whatever the reason, it should be resisted. These “assets” are dead liabilities.