OBAMA: But understand, that was a tactic designed to contain the damage of the previous four years of mismanagement of this war.
MCCAIN: I'm afraid Senator Obama doesn't understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy.
OBAMA: We had a legitimate difference, and I absolutely understand the difference between tactics and strategy. And the strategic question that the president has to ask is not whether or not we are employing a particular approach in the country once we have made the decision to be there. The question is, was this wise?
So the question is, do you want to elect a president who thinks that his strategy ought to begin with the question of how best to win a war or who thinks that his strategy ought to begin with the question of what – including war, investment in research into alternative energy, tax cuts, health care, etc. – is going to do the most to improve quality of life?
A president should not focus on the best strategy for educating the youth, extending longevity, enhancing the safety of pensions, or creating transportation solutions that minimize commuting time and carbon footprint. The president should focus on the best strategy – among these and various other options – for improving quality of life.
For Obama, the change in the approach to the Iraqi occupation is a tactic and the decision to make the world safer by invading Iraq is a strategy. For McCain, the decision to invade and occupy Iraq is a given and how best to do that is a strategy. McCain remains the good soldier. He is not, it would seem, running for president so much as Commander in Chief.