This is a dishonest statement, period. Name one time in the recorded history of the world that an army has run through another without fighting to attack a target on the other side of the enemy.
This is the principle which underlies any attack against economic targets. Bombers often don't engage intercepting fighters or even ground-based defenses (even though they can); Submarines, convoy escorts; caravan raiders, infantry formations. The point isn't that RTS games perfectly correspond to these examples -- this is the trade off they make (more on this below) -- rather, that RTS games incorporate the general principle.
But you're missing the larger point here -- so what? Games are always unrealistic. Both TBS and RTS contain unique design elements which are guilty in this respect. Realism is only important because as it serves as a means of engaging (motivating) the consumer. In other words, appeals to realism beg the question of how much realism is valuable. In the case of RTS games, this might be a problem for you. You might think that it's too unrealistic, or unrealistic in certain ways and that makes it not enjoyable. However, that RTS games outsell TBS games by a significant margin demonstrates that this isn't a problem for most people. The point is that this isn't an argument against RTS games (simpliciter) but an argument against RTS games for people who share your views on realism.
You see no difference in the quality of thought required to position your forces in a TBS compared to an RTS? ... Making a judgement call on whether an intellectually void, tactless assault is effective or not isn't the same as successfully deploying your forces in a manner that leaves an actual hole in your enemies defenses and lets you walk through unopposed instead of just undamaged by your futile pursuers.
If you accept that TBS-style pre-positioning is the ultima ratio of thinking (it isn't), then of course TBS games will seem better. I agree with you that RTS games place a higher threshold on execution and that this results in qualitative differences in the thinking involved. I disagree, however, that the thinking that goes into RTS games is "intellectually void" or "tactless" just because it doesn't make the same sorts of strategies effective. All of the analysis you didn't answer demonstrates why this isn't the case. Game designs sacrifice some strategic elements in exchange for other strategic elements. In the context of positioning, this means that positioning in an RTS must anticipate the possibility of harassment. Generally, it means understanding that strategic decisions need to be made within the context of the rules of the game.
Personally, I am a much better TBS player than RTS player, but when I lose (or win) it's not because I blindly performed some action, but because I made a series of critical judgments which informed that action.