September 26, 2008

McCain Incorrectly Equates a Military Tactic with a Strategy

McCain exposed his own lack of understanding about the difference between a "tactic" and a "strategy" after he accused Senator Obama of not knowing the difference:
I'm afraid Senator Obama doesn't understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy.

I'm certain that Obama does understand the difference. A strategy is the big picture goal and approach. Tactics are the smaller actions taken to implement the larger strategy.

It's not clear that McCain understands the difference. McCain exposed his lack of understanding in the September 26 debate when he equated a "tactics" used to implement the troop surge with a "strategy":

There is social, economic progress, and a strategy, a strategy of going into an area, clearing and holding, and the people of the country then become allied with you.

"Clearing and holding" areas is an example of a military tactic. The "strategy" was the broad goal of stabilizing the security situation so that the Iraqi governance system could become functional. The troop surge could be considered either a sub-strategy or major military tactic to support the larger stabilization strategy.

But "clearing and holding" is definitely not a strategy. It might even be considered a sub-tactic of the tactical surge designed to meet the "strategy" of bringing a period of stability to Iraq. McCain clearly displayed his lack of understanding of strategy and tactic.

Don't take my word for it. Consider what former Director of the National Security Agency, William E. Odom, LT General, USA, Ret., said in testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 2, 2008.

It is an honor to appear before you again. The last occasion was in January 2007, when the topic was the troop surge. Today you are asking if it has worked. Last year I rejected the claim that it was a new strategy. Rather, I said, it is a new tactic used to achieve the same old strategic aim, political stability.

(Full Testimony)

McCain's muddled brain is further exposed by his circular thinking about strategies:

This strategy requires additional troops, it requires a fundamental change in strategy and I fought for it.

McCain's idea of a "strategy" was to have "a fundamental change in strategy"? Oh Kayeee. I'm not impressed with this so-called straight talking maverick. McCain's a phony.

Sources:

Los Angeles Times, Full Transcript of the First Debate between John McCain and Barack Obama, September 26, 2008.

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Testimony of William E. Odom, April 2, 2008. [PDF]

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3 comments:

libhom said...

Can you say senile?

GDAEman said...

Ahhh. Could you please repeat that question?

McCain is starting to sound like Hillary when she was getting desperate.

Eric said...

Hey, nice little article. I really needed that link about the lt. gen saying it is a tactic!