"tactical" vs "strategic"

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Fri Mar 2 03:45:09 UTC 2012

You're all assuming that war correspondents have some kind of military
qualification. When I was in Saudi Arabia for the first Gulf War, I ran into
"Dr. Gridlock," the Washington Post's traffic reporter, whom they had sent
over there. That was twenty years ago. With all the newsroom cuts since
then, I'm sure the situation is far worse nowadays.

Actually, it sounds like the rebel PR guys said "tactical" because it sounds
minor and relatively insignificant. In other words, they're spinning a bad
situation. The AP reporter places it in quotes and makes it clear who is
characterizing it, so it's not really his fault--although he does lead the
piece with this bit of propagandistic spin; it should really be buried far
down in the piece, if included at all.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Benjamin Barrett
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2012 8:59 PM
Subject: Re: "tactical" vs "strategic"

On Mar 1, 2012, at 5:49 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> On Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 8:30 PM, James A. Landau
> <JJJRLandau at netscape.com> <JJJRLandau at netscape.com> wrote:
>> I still think anyone who can't distinguish between "tactical" and
"strategic" has no business being a war correspondent.
> I agree. Even if Arabic fails to distinguish the two - not likely;
> this isn't a trivial, gnome-sane distinction that a martial people
> wouldn't bother to make; but, youneverknow - anyone writing in English
> ought to distinguish them, regardless.

These two and" stratagem" all give me trouble. I certainly would expect a
war correspondent to get them right, but not everybody.

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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