Attack the tactic? Bad strategy, John.

by lestro

I think I just got to the heart of the problem in the George W. Bush Administration, as well as the would-be sequel of the McCampaign.

It is a delicate, but incredible important distinction between strategies and tactics.

Friday in the debate, during a discussion about the 2003 troop surge in Iraq, Barack Obama said:

They have done a brilliant job, and General Petraeus has done a brilliant job. But understand, that was a tactic designed to contain the damage of the previous four years of mismanagement of this war.

And so John likes — John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007. You talk about the surge. The war started in 2003, and at the time when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy. You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong.

You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shiite and Sunni. And you were wrong.

John McCain, following this eloquent and succinct dressing down of his judgment, put on his most condescending face, flicked his tongue a few times and did exactly what the Karl Rove playbook says to do.

He belittled his opponent, plugged the message and changed the subject:

MCCAIN: I’m afraid Senator Obama doesn’t understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy. But the important — I’d like to tell you, two Fourths of July ago I was in Baghdad. General Petraeus invited Senator Lindsey Graham and me to attend a ceremony where 688 brave young Americans, whose enlistment had expired, were reenlisting to stay and fight for Iraqi freedom and American freedom.

I was honored to be there. I was honored to speak to those troops. And you know, afterwards, we spent a lot of time with them. And you know what they said to us? They said, let us win. They said, let us win. We don’t want our kids coming back here.

And this strategy, and this general, they are winning. Senator Obama refuses to acknowledge that we are winning in Iraq.

With McCain’s storied military career, his dressing down his younger opponent on the difference between a strategy and a tactic carries some weight.

Unfortunately, as Joe Biden pointed out in the immediate spin (which was not countered by the other veep candidate, by the way. hmmm…), McCain was wrong and Obama was right.

A strategy is a big picture goal while a tactic is what you use to help achieve those. In the case of the surge, the strategy was “Clear, hold and build” – the tactic used to try and accomplish it was a temporary increase in troop levels.

In a broader sense, the strategy was to use the military to tamp down violence and create breathing room for the diplomatic operations to take hold and allow us to get out. The tactic that was used to allow the military to tamp down the violence was “the surge”.

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The end of the Iraq War

by twit

is now scheduled for 2011:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday that an agreement had been reached in negotiations on a security pact with the United States to end any foreign military presence in Iraq by the end of 2011.

“There is an agreement actually reached, reached between the two parties on a fixed date which is the end of 2011 to end any foreign presence on Iraqi soil,” Maliki said in a speech to tribal leaders in the Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.

(update: The BBC has more on the story)

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The Iraq War lurches into the ‘win’ column

by twit

We’re pulling out of Iraq.

Via McClatchy on August 7, 2008:

BAGHDAD — The United States and Iraq are nearing completion of negotiations on a security agreement that would pull American troops out of Iraqi cities by next July and foresees all U.S. combat troops gone from Iraq by 2011, according to two Iraqi officials who are familiar with the negotiations.

… The U.S. agreement to set a specific date for the end of American operations in Iraqi cities and the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces marks a major turnaround for the Bush administration, which until last month had refused to discuss a timetable for withdrawal.

However, Iraqi officials were insistent that a date of some sort needed to be set.

… Under the agreement, the United States would pull its troops from Iraqi cities and onto American bases in Iraq by June 30, 2009, according to the Iraqi officials familiar with the negotiations.

We’ve won.

Tenet admits to ‘efforts’ by the Bush Administration to fake Iraq evidence

by twit

So there’s a book out that claims that somebody in the Bush Administration faked a letter to show a link between Iraq and al-Qaida. In the mad scramble of denials that have followed, former CIA Director George Tenet makes an interesting dodge:

Tenet, in a statement distributed by the White House, also issued a denial about the supposedly fake letter. “There was no such order from the White House to me nor, to the best of my knowledge, was anyone from CIA ever involved in any such effort,” he said.

“It is well established that, at my direction, CIA resisted efforts on the part of some in the administration to paint a picture of Iraqi-al-Qaida connections that went beyond the evidence,” Tenet said. “The notion that I would suddenly reverse our stance and have created and planted false evidence that was contrary to our own beliefs is ridiculous.”

The White House is distributing a denial that says it is “well established” that ‘some people in the Bush Administration made efforts to pressure the CIA to distort the evidence.’

Wait, what? People in the Bush Administration were leading efforts to get the CIA to create and plant false evidence?

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McCain vs. Every Damn Journalist

by twit

You know your shit stinks when every damn reporter calls you out, even the entertainment ones:

McCain’s latest attempt at discrediting his handsome, photogenic young rival particularly galls stars and executives with a memory, because only eight years ago, McCain was a fixture in Hollywood fundraising circles when he tried to raise money from the very people his ad now ridicules.

At the time, dozens of people in Hollywood — including Lear, Harrison Ford, Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy and Michael Douglas — gave to McCain because they thought he was a Republican celebrity ƒè with a great personal story. And, dare we say, some celebrities, namely Warren Beatty, even became friends with the Arizona senator.

But the truth is most of Hollywood won’t return McCain’s calls nowadays because many of the stars and executives he initially impressed now believe the maverick stance they found so attractive was just a pose. Hollywood doesn’t object to a good pose — unless, of course, it doesn’t work.

… The fact of the matter is that for all his popularity in the entertainment industry, Obama has kept Hollywood at a friendly but slight distance. He’s hardly waded into the scene with the sort of relish that Bill Clinton did in the 1990s.

The press kicking the crap out of McCain is not going unnoticed the recent tirade from the Wall Street Journal is definitely special – as I read it, I found myself worrying that the writer was going to accidentally choke on his tie because of how upset he seemed while writing it.

However, in “Dick Move of the Week,” Jon Stewart is our new Secretary of Awesome.

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But how did you get home, Johnny Mac?

by lestro

This week, McCain was out chillin’ with Papa Bush in Maine and slagging on Obama, who is currently on tour in Europe and the Middle East:

The Arizona senator disparaged Obama as “someone who has no military experience whatsoever.”

“When you win wars, troops come home,” McCain said. “He’s been completely wrong on the issue. … I have been steadfast in my position.”

So, uh, John…  If the troops come home when you win wars, how did your skinny ass make it home from Vietnam?

Because if this is your idea of winning a war:

Then I think we can make that happen by Friday…

Iranian dissident leader escapes to America… with a video camera

by twit

Via the International Herald Tribune:

After nearly 8 years in prison, Ahmad Batebi fled Iran, documenting the journey on a pocket-sized video camera.

A July 13, 2008 video report can be seen here. More information is available from a July 13, 2008 article:

… He rose to fame in 1999, appearing on the cover of The Economist magazine holding the bloody T-shirt of a fellow student demonstrator – an image he first saw when a judge slapped it before him and declared: “You have signed your own death sentence.”

At the age of 31, after nearly eight years in Iranian prisons, subjected to torture and twice taken to the gallows and fitted with a noose, Batebi had fled.

His own awakening began in the fourth grade, when his teacher, fed up with the distortions of an official history textbook, burst out: “Go out and read other things to try to get the truth.”

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