Maybe He Meant “Strategery”…

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Based on his response to Barack Obama’s foreign policy speech, it seems John McCain may not understand the distinction between strategy and tactics.

Obama made a major speech today outlining his strategy, or overall vision, regarding foreign policy. The emphasis on the speech was to put Iraq in the context of the larger issues facing the US and the world and to make clear the thinking process behind Obama’s priorities going into his administration.

Obama also summarized his view that McCain, like Bush, does not have a strategic plan:

“George Bush and John McCain don’t have a strategy for success in Iraq – they have a strategy for staying in Iraq. They said we couldn’t leave when violence was up, they say we can’t leave when violence is down.  They refuse to press the Iraqis to make tough choices, and they label any timetable to redeploy our troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government – not to a terrorist enemy. Theirs is an endless focus on tactics inside Iraq, with no consideration of our strategy to face threats beyond Iraq’s borders.”

John McCain responded to the Obama speech by saying this:

“[Obama] is speaking today about his plans for Iraq and Afghanistan before he has even left, before he has talked to Gen. Petraeus, before he has seen the progress in Iraq and before he has set foot in Afghanistan for the first time,” McCain said at a campaign event in New Mexico.

“In my experience, fact-finding missions usually work best the other way around: First, you assess the facts on the ground; then you present a new strategy.”

With his commentary, McCain has made it clear that he does not comprehend the distinction between strategy (an overall vision) and tactics, despite his more advanced age, his longer resume, and his experience as a POW.

Dictionary discussion: “In military usage, a distinction is made between strategy and tactics. Strategy is the utilization, during both peace and war, of all of a nation’s forces, through large-scale, long-range planning and development, to ensure security or victory. Tactics deals with the use and deployment of troops in actual combat.”

Obama has presented a strategic vision and has said he will develop tactical plans that align with that overall vision based on the transient situation. Obama’s strategy addresses not only the situation in Iraq, but also Afghanistan, the struggle against terrorism, the Middle East in general, international alliances and relationships in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and the role of an oil-dependent economy on US security, international relations, and conflict.

By contrast, McCain has presented no broad strategy or vision of any kind. He points to his support of “the Surge” (a tactical move in Iraq) and has dismissed Obama’s strategic vision through the use of tactic-oriented rhetoric.

It’s a sad commentary on the state of the mainstream media that they have been replaying McCain’s sound bite all day long without picking up the fact that McCain does not understand the meaning of the word “strategy”.

4 thoughts on “Maybe He Meant “Strategery”…

  1. Barack Obama is a strategic thinker. It’s apparent in everything he does and says. John McCain says he knows how to win wars. If that is true, why hasn’t McCain shared this knowledge with the boy Bush? Why is he holding back 8) McCain doesn’t know anything. He isn’t smart enough and he doesn’t have the energy that is needed to be President. It’s a 24/7 job and McCain doesn’t do weekends.

    Good post, Gorn

  2. McCain is an old man. So am I!
    When I was 16, I managed four business ventures: Gas Engine Repair, Electronics Installation and Repair(TV and HiFi), Outdoor Landscaping and Carpentry. I also was in the advanced science & math programs in HS and played on its basketball team.
    At 67, I could never handle that workload. I can not believe that McCain can handle the office of President.

  3. Wow, I just saw a snippet on AC 360 where Obama specifically called out the point of this post – that McCain was confusing tactics with strategy.

    And yet, AC and his team of pundits completely punted on it and did not seem to pick it up. I guess they just don’t get it.

  4. First, John McCain says that he knows “how to win wars.” I would like him to name a war that he has won.

    Secondly, on this “assess the facts on the ground” business. Hasn’t the WH been sending all kinds of people up to Capitol Hill to give them an assessment of the facts on the ground? Is McCain trying to imply that the information the WH has been giving Congress will not help them assess the facts in the ground? Will a personal visit to Iraq show that conditions are not as the people the WH has been sending to Capitol Hill have been saying?

    Either the conditions in Iraq are as the WH has been “officially” reporting, or they are not. If they are, then why does one need to personally visit Iraq? And if they aren’t, then shouldn’t somebody be charged with Lying to Congress?

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