Thursday, October 2, 2008

October Surpirse for 2008: war with Iran

If it is not stopped by September or October of 2008, it will be too late; Iran will have crossed the threshold to the last lap of its military program. Israeli intelligence and its armed forces have three months to finish the job which has long been in preparation.

- Debka (Israel), July 12, 2008
Despite Obama's recent surge in the polls, the same polls continue to report that significantly more Americans trust McCain in the "Commander in Chief" capacity than Obama.* Clearly, McCain is most likely to win the election is if he can remind voters that he is the preferable Commander in Chief during wartime.

I suspect nothing short of war is likely swing the election for McCain. Which brings us to the October surprise.

October Surprise
Imagine that the news media reports that has Iran just shot down a US plane or sunk a US naval vessel. Realize that these actions will likely be claimed to have occurred in retaliation for a US-backed Israeli strike against nuclear facilities in Iran. Think how the McCain campaign will respond.
  1. If McCain has not already dumped Palin, he will quickly replace her with someone with serious foreign policy credentials -- perhaps a retired general.
  2. McCain will make hawkish pronouncements. McCain will immediately fly to Israel and the Persian Gulf. He will be photographed giving news conferences on an aircraft carrier while fighter jets take off. The country facing war, McCain will be in his element.
  3. Obama, still campaigning back in the US, will make statements supportive of US troops. Although Obama will understand that the whole thing is a probably a set-up, he will be unable to prove that it is. Obama will likely feel he has no choice but to go along with the whole thing. Moreover, Obama's attempts to match McCain's hawkish pronouncements are likely to sound inauthentic.
  4. Some of Obama's most outspoken supporters will lead anti-war protests. Republican campaign strategists will claim that Obama is allied with "anti-Americans," "the unpatriotic," and "traitors" on the far left. Republicans will demand Obama repudiate the demonstrators. When Obama refuses to distance himself from critics of the looming war, campaign strategists will label Obama "weak on national security," "not Commander-in-Chief material" etc.
  5. Frightened Americans vote into office the candidate they most trust as Commander in Chief.
* "When it comes to the all-important Commander-in-Chief test, a majority of Americans still do not believe Obama would be a good Commander-in-Chief. The poll found McCain leading Obama on who would make a good Commander-in-Chief of the military, with 73 percent of Americans saying McCain would do a good job, while just 46 percent said Obama would make a good Commander-in-Chief." (ABC News, September 30, 2008)
Note: Other Israeli estimates give a broader window of time, a NY Times Op/Ed predicted a strike as late as January, just before the next president takes office. The writer's assumption was that the present White House would be more supportive of such a strike than Obama's. It seems equally clear that with McCain installed in the White House, Bush and his friends can live four more years without having to worry much about the prospect of war crimes trials, and their supporters want McCain. They might say to Israeli: it's October or never.

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