Monday, October 27, 2008

October surprise: attack Syria?

If it is supposed to be 'a message', it is rather hard to work out what the message is supposed to be. A parting shot by the White House, toys, prams, and so on? Juan Cole, who I always rush to look at when something like this happens thinks it might be to prevent an Al Qaeda in Iraq assasination or bombing 'spectacular' that would hurt McCain and help Obama, ( me: did they think they'd got a chance of hitting al-Masri or someone like him?) and also that the US administration has for the first time pledged to help Iraqui refugees - most of whom have fled to Syria - but the administration wanted that 'kept off the front pages this fall'. He also says that every single thing they are doing in the White House, from raiding Pakistan to sending special forces helicopters over the border into Syria is 'intended in some way to help the Republican party in the elections' The BBC think it's suspicious timing as well. I wonder if Admiral Mike Mullen's recent high-speed tour round world military officials had anything to do with it? Syria have called it a 'terrorist act' and an 'act of aggression' but I think - I hope - that they are too wily to overreact when the Bush administration is in its last days and so much effort is going on to get Damascus to the negotiating table.

I can't see how it can derail what is looking like an increasingly sewn-up election, in terms of headline-grabbing, or deflect from the economic woes, though I continue to worry about dirty-trick vote suppression. I continue to worry about lots of things, to be fair; I have never been as emotionally invested in any election, in any country, in my entire life. 'I can't wait til all this is over.

Fellow-election nerds, how are you bearing up?



Blogger Philip said...

If I wait up till four in the morning for Ohio to declare, and if Ohio does to me what it did in 2004, I shall not be a happy bunny.

Word Verification: turstu, the vital revolving cantilever widget that keeps the tortilla on an even keel. Now frequently computerised, to the dismay of traditionalists.

October 27, 2008 10:20 pm  
Blogger DAVE BONES said...

I'm into it but I am in no way hopeful about Obama. Don't dare. I remember "A new day has dawned has it not" turning out to be a resounding


My Republican buddies are passing kidney stones which is amusing. Its a good sign I suppose. I still can't see president Obama.

I also reckon it'll be a shame that if I am wrong they will ditch McCain like a hot potato when he is probably the best guy they have ever had in charge.

October 27, 2008 10:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I.m not doing two well. It is too scary. 4 years ago I said I would move back to my home country if Bush was re-elected but I did not. This time I have been saying, of course, the same thing. If Obama is not elected I will leave. But the truth is that what makes me really desperate is the fact that I would have to move to another planet if I wanted to stay away from a McCain/Palin government. What are we all going to do if they steal the election again?
I tend to be an optimist but I'm being realistic when I say that SO MANY things can go wrong. Elections in this country are so messed up. Ballots get lost, or not counted for some insane reason... I've witnessed this way too many times. I hope it will be different this time.

October 28, 2008 1:28 am  
Blogger Boggo said...

Over the past two days I have become cautiously optimistic - the polls surely can't be completely wrong and the swing States are remarkable, look at Virginia!

This piece in the Guardian does make you wonder, though.

I predict the result will be a lot better than the polls suggest, and this is what all the bookies seem to think, though I'm not risking money on it.

Hope you are feeling better Rachel.

October 28, 2008 2:31 pm  
Blogger Tim said...

I have already cleared the decks for the 5th, as I'm going to need the day off no matter how the 4th turns out.

Good luck, Rachel. I'm considering live-blogging, and will make sure that I at least look in on you if I do carry a laptop on the night.

October 28, 2008 3:21 pm  
Blogger Pat Patterson said...

One thing Juan Cole didn't point out that merely looking at a map and saying this was a raid into Syria misses the point that in 2005Al Qaeda moved into this area and proclaimed the Islamic Emirate of Al Qaim, Al Qaim being the capitol of a mini-Talbanland. The Syrian army and security services left but one of the outcomes of the daylight raid was that the Syrian army was reported to be moving tank transporters and trucks of soldiers back into the area to reassert control.

Those darn Americans, another example of blowback. If you cannot defend your territory or at least offer token opposition then its hardly logical to complain that brutes in burnooses or kevlar suddenly show up on the streets.

Plus all the keening about voter suppression is ignoring that due to the tireless and minimum wage efforts of America Votes and ACORN there are now more people registered to vote in Indianapolis then there are citizens. So like felons at least in Indiana the Dallas Cowboys and zombies will be patiently standing in line to vote.

Plus so far in this cycle the largest example of voter suppression was when the Sec. of State for Ohio, purged the voting rolls of over 200,000 voters, not newly registered but already registered, for various mostly typographical errors. And that most of these were typically voters from the suburbs was just coincidental to the liklihood of them voting for McCain. But luckily Ohio will have to abide not only by the SCOTUS ruling but also current voting reforms where all questionable or challengeable voters are given a provisional ballot and then manually inspected and matched to the voting rolls with the examiner given leeway to approve votes even with typos.

Every year both parties complain mightily and then rarely are the problems that everybody, especially Europeans, take for granted as nefarious turn out to be old wives tales or simply malicious political screeds.

October 29, 2008 2:29 am  
Blogger granny p said...

How is this granny bearing up? Pissing herself. There's never been an election like this, and you know what dirty tricks the GOP can get up to. All fingers - as well as legs - crossed. xx

October 29, 2008 9:09 am  
Blogger Gridlock said...

Thought experiment;

'There is a nation that feels it has the right (and does have the might) to strike at any sovereign nation based solely on a unilateral determination of "evil" or "potential future evil". No other nation has called this evil empire on this.

This nation also aggressively exports, through organisations such as the IMF and World Bank, a form of destructive capitalism designed to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of the elite, forever, insured against any potential mistakes or losses by the very populace they seek to exploit.

From the POV of a neutral observer, the best leader of this nation (assuming the 2 choices have similar policies when it comes to the above) is

a) Some nutjob with his heart on his sleeve, who ultimately will accelerate the rate of collapse of the above

b) A CEO/lawyer type, with lots of charisma, a good story to tell, buy-in from the hordes, an escapist message of change and hope.

I keep coming back to this - America is EVIL, a mass-murdering state with delusions of god-given exceptionalism.

Please, add WhoisIOZ and Chris Floyd to your daily reading list. Escape into reality, put your humanity first.

Word verification: blypops, the best-selling snack at The Famous Five theme park just outside Sydenham.

October 30, 2008 2:44 pm  
Blogger Pat Patterson said...

Compared to the PRC, the DPRC and the Cambodians, to name just a few, we are just babes in the woods. And since a large percentage of our officer corps and a disprportionate number of the enlisted are descendents of the Scotch-Irish we can only say thanks for the fighters and the training.

October 31, 2008 5:29 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Sorry to the reader who asked for a comment to be deleted- the comment delete ikon has not been available for a week - not sure what the probelm is - will try emailing bloggerhelp

October 31, 2008 1:02 pm  

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