The Washington Times - October 7, 2008, 01:06PM

John McCain in 2000 said because of tactical decisions U.S. troops were put in the position of killing civilians in Kosovo — something awfully similar to the comments he’s now attacking Barack Obama for.

During a Republican primary debate in 2000 McCain called the Clinton strategy in Kosovo “obscene” because it forced troops into using tactics that meant civilians were going to get killed.

“In the most obscene chapter in recent American history is the conduct of the Kosovo conflict when the president of the United States refused to prepare for ground operations, refused to have air power used effectively because he wanted them flying — he had them flying at 15,000 feet where they killed innocent civilians because they were dropping bombs from such — in high altitude.”

That is almost exactly what Barack Obama said last year about U.S. troops in Afghanistan, when he said the U.S. strategy has led to air strikes rather than controlling the ground — a remark that McCain, in a new ad announced this week, calls “dishonorable.”

Here are Obama’s words. See if you can spot a substantive difference: “We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there.”

Stephen Dinan, national political correspondent, The Washington Times