Leaving an Opening for The Enemy

One of the foundations of strategy is that we cannot create our own opportunities. Our opponents must create them for us. While this is a more complicated idea that it sounds at first, the presidential race gives us a new example (one of many that will come in the coming months). In a recent speech, Kerry promised to fight a "more sensitive war" against terror. When I first heard this, I knew that this statement was a great opening for the Republicans. Sure enough, Cheney is now attacking Kerry saying "not a one [of our wars] was won by being sensitive."

What makes an opening? Our existing strategic positions. If Bush had said that he would be more sensitive in war, nothing would have been made of it since he is positioned as being to warlike. However, for Kerry, whose position on war is less solid, this charge of "sensitivity" is dangerous. Already the mainstream liberal media (Wolf Blitzer is doing a story as I write this on CNN) is picking this story up because it plays to well to our preconceptions about the candidates.