Thursday, August 28, 2014

Objectives, Strategy, and Tactics

The TV newsies are babbling on about Obama's strategy.  It seems to be in flux, I think I heard Obama confess that he was still working on his strategy.
   That's perverse.  Obama's job is define objectives, what we want to achieve.  In regards to ISIS there are a number of objectives we could pursue.  We could attempt to just stay out of it, avoid getting sucked back into a middle east war. We could attempt to prevent ISIS from grabbing any more land.  We could attempt to destroy ISIS and hand control back to the new Baghdad government.  We could attempt to destroy ISIS and set up three states, Sunni, Shia and Kurd.   Those are all the possibilities that occur to me, although I daresay someone might think of others.  But to have any effect, the US has to define it's objectives.  We have to decide what we want to do. And Obama then has to sell the objectives to the Congress and the voters.  Selling is not Obama's strong point.  The Congress is split.  The leftie greenies  want to stay out completely.  Some hawks want to destroy ISIS.  Nobody has thought about what we want after ISIS is gone.  The vast bulk of Congress (and their constituents) don't know what they want. 
   Only after we have settled upon an objective does it make sense to discuss "strategy".  Strategy is concerned with means to obtain our objectives.  Strategy  picks options,  such as invade the place from the sea, nuke 'em from the air, subvert their government by aiding domestic dissenters, blockade 'em, crash their infrastructure by cyber attack,  cut off their access to the international banking system and credit, crash their currency, and doubtless many other things.  But until you have decided upon your objectives,  discussion of methods and means is worthless. 
   And Obama (or any administration) should not making strategy.  Leave that to experts, the Joint Chiefs, with maybe CIA.  Leave the State Department out of strategic discussions, they are just messengers, and they ought to carry the message, not make it up.
  Way down at the bottom, is tactics.  Tactics are methods of winning battles, after strategy has decided where to fight.  Most of the talk I hear on the TV is really about tactics, specifically air strikes. 
   So far I haven't heard a peep out of the Obama administration about objectives.  They don't have a clue.

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