can you say “october surprise”?

According to CBS News, the United States military today launched an attack inside of Syria, killing eight. Here’s a clip:

U.S. military helicopters launched an extremely rare attack Sunday on Syrian territory close to the border with Iraq, killing eight people in a strike the government in Damascus condemned as “serious aggression”…

“Syria condemns this aggression and holds the American forces responsible for this aggression and all its repercussions. Syria also calls on the Iraqi government to shoulder its responsibilities and launch and immediate investigation into this serious violation and prevent the use of Iraqi territory for aggression against Syria,” the government statement said…

Those inclined to see conspiracy are calling it an October surprise. The headline at the popular D.C. gossip site Wonkette reads, “Finally, The October Surprise!” It is, of course, possible that the timing is coincidental and it’s not election-related, but, given the timing, one can see how observers might have concerns. The BBC, while not saying outright that the attack was made for political reasons, does call the timing “curious.” Here’s a clip:

…Its timing is curious, coming right at the end of the Bush administration’s period of office and at a moment when many of America’s European allies – like Britain and France – are trying to broaden their ties with Damascus, our correspondent adds…

There’s little doubt that McCain and the Republicans would like to see the national dialogue transition from the economy to war — a subject on which McCain continues to poll better than Obama – but would they instigate an international incident just to see that accomplished? I’d like to think not.

And I don’t know that it will change much. At this point, I think McCain could kill bin Laden in hand-to-hand combat after defusing a nuclear bomb beneath a daycare center and he’d still lose. You have to give them credit for trying, though.

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10 Comments

  1. egpenet
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    There has long been the claim that not only insurgents are coming in from Syria, but also weapons and other support. Even longer has been the claim that Sadam and his sons hid WMD in Syria. And there is ALSO the claim that Israel hit a nuclear research facility recently, albeit violating Turkish air space.

    It would be totally consistent for Bush/Cheney to PULL something on any pretext to give some justification for this provocation. Not that Syria can DO anything about it. Just the same, more dangerous games. And in this part of the world, Israel will pay the price as will innocent civilians in Syria and Lebanon.

    Question is … will the world survive any more Republican craziness until January 21?

  2. Maddox
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Escalating a conflict that results in the death of millions (including tens of thousands of American soldiers) is a time-honored, American tradition of both parties.

    Death and conflict equals patriotism and victory.

    Apparently Bush has finally been persuaded to endorse McCain.

  3. egpenet
    Posted October 26, 2008 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    I caught a rerun of Michael Moore’s tirade at the Michigan Theater. He was right and quite passionate … but it was a rambling tirade in my opinion.

    He asked to challenge McCain about “the surge” and how successful it truly was by paying off the shia and sunni factions NOT to shoot at us … and calling it a victory.

    I wanted to remind him how, very early on in our history, we paid off the various Indian tribes to NOT kill us … how we paid off local pirates to harrass British vessels … how we paid off the Barbary pirates (our first middle eastern enmies) NOT to raid our shipping fleets … and how my own relatives were involved with Franklin in France in raiding British vessels and selling their cargoes to buy arms and black powder for the Revolution. And on ….

    Yes, Maddox, it is a long litany … but it IS patriotism when it is in defense of our own territory … quite another when “our interests” are stretched several thousand miles to a pile of sand and camel dung. In THAT case, the true patriotic thing to say is NO.

  4. egpenet
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Monday morning … WSJ reports a large rocket attack inside Pakistan by US military going after a prominent Taliban/Al Qaida leader. More than 20 killed. More last-ditch flailing by the White House.

  5. Robert
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    The specter of Bin laden has worked like a charm over the last seven years. The Bush Administration might as well go ahead and kill him now. It would be too revealing when the new administration does it early on. Too many Americans might get a clue that they’ve been had.

  6. mark
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    I hadn’t thought about it, Robert, but I think you’re right. We should expect an all out attempt on the part of the Bush administration to get bin Laden during these last months in office… if not to win votes for McCain, then at least to go out on a high note. If they don’t get him, and if, as you suggest, the Obama administration takes him out quickly, it would be the ultimate illustration of misplaced priorities, etc.

  7. egpenet
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Tonight the BBC radio described thee predator missle attack as a possible “lashing out” in sheer frustration by the Bush Administration …
    same for the Syrian strike. This is especially true with the Syrian strike, due to Obama’s pledge to “reach out” and not simply to “lash out.” “We’ll show HIM,” says the White House.

  8. Paw
    Posted October 28, 2008 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    There should be some sort of office prank called an “October surprise,” like cutting off someone’s tie when they’ve fallen asleep at their desk, or yanking someone’s pants down in a meeting, or throwing a stink bomb into someone’s office and holding their door closed.

  9. Old Goat
    Posted October 28, 2008 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Paw: They used to sneak up on you and paint your fingernails pink if caught napping. One fellow kept nail polish remover in his took box for such embarassments.

  10. Robert
    Posted October 29, 2008 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    Years back, I had a Republican girlfriend who a week or so before every general election would carry out what we came to refer to as her “October Surprise.” It never failed. I split my ticket every time.

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