Will Obama Launch a War as an October Surprise?


There are two sides of the coin here. On the one side, military action tends to shift attention over to the man in the White House and gives its occupant a bump in the polls. Even Carter got one, which means that Obama might too.

But the other side of the coin is that the American people really don’t want another war and one of Obama’s strategies in the third debate was to keep suggesting that Romney would start a war. While Obama is never bound by anything that comes out of his mouth, that was a strategy based on polls which showed that an actual war is highly unpopular, especially with independent voters.

Anyone expecting a last minute Iran strike should let that one go. It’s not impossible. Nothing is. Including bombing the North Pole, but it isn’t likely to happen.

The same thing goes for an intervention in Syria, which would have the same problem. Intervening in Syria would not be quick or easy. It wouldn’t be an October Surprise, more of an October Sludge spilling into December and taking up the next six months. And it would be about as popular as Libya, which wasn’t very popular at all.

So that leaves the small stuff. No doubt the drone strikes will keep on hitting terrorists, but without a truly big name, there’s no real point. And the only really big name in terrorism is dead.

A Wag the Dog style military strike would need to be fairly short and very low risk. Most importantly it would have to be the kind of issue that Americans would get behind, or it might backfire. And that just leaves Benghazi.

Going after some of the Islamists responsible for the Benghazi consulate attack would be popular and so long as it was done with drones and a few air strikes, and quickly over would boost Obama’s numbers.

What would such an October Surprise look like? It would be a heavily hyped week of air strikes, mostly useless, but it would have the appearance of an extensive operation, complete with film of aircraft taking off from aircraft carriers. Like Wag the Dog, it would have the appearance of a war without actually being one. Like Clinton’s own air strikes, many of the targets would be a few tents or a patch of desert, but it would make for a spectacular show for television viewers.

Obama would break into prime time programming to deliver a speech to the nation. Cue footage of nighttime takeoffs from aircraft carrier decks and video of bombs falling to their target. All the usual trimmings that Clinton’s people, who are now running things, used to good effect. There will even be a kill list made public to create suspense for the takedowns.

But the question is will it happen? The options have probably been on the table since September 11, 2012. The assets are there. It would be doable, but…

1. Libya has denied permission for even armed drones. Getting this done would either mean violating Libyan airspace, with the resulting outcry from the left and the UN, or bribing the Libyan government. The latter is likelier, especially if by prior arrangement the targets are all abandoned factories and houses. But it’s an open question of whether such cooperation can be obtained.

2. Obama doesn’t like the idea. O is a hypocrite, but he still rationalizes his political positions. He rationalized going after Bin Laden by believing that he could use Bin Laden’s capture to force Americans to accept civilian trials and give up the War on Terror. There’s no such plum here except his own ability to implement progressive policies once elected.

3. It would be nakedly transparent. The American people aren’t stupid and there’s very little time left for carrying this out. The dominant response, even in the media, would be cynical. Far more people would be saying, “Wag the Dog” than would be cheering on the operation.

4. It might backfire. There’s a reason that Obama took the war tack with Romney. The polls show that people don’t want a war. A week’s worth of bombings wouldn’t alienate voters, but it would give them a reason to keep backing away to the candidate who is focused on the economy.

We saw in the foreign policy debate that both candidates kept pivoting toward the economy. A fake war now would be more likely to wipe out what’s left of Obama’s chances, even if the public supported it 100 percent. Obama is losing because of a perception that he has neglected the economy. A week’s worth of air strikes would boost his rating, but also end his career.

But that doesn’t mean he might not go for it anyway if the polls are so bad that he has nothing left to lose.

  • curmudgeon

    the only time i ever conceded that obama might not be totally against the united states was when the messiah announced we would not intervene in libya. i was about ready to change my mind about obama. maybe he wasnt so bad after all. but i was suspicious that obama's announcement was just due to the fact that he just did not understand the situation, and as soon as it became clearer who was actually our worse enemy, the attack would be joined. it took the muslim in chief 2 days to figure out which side was our more dangerous enemy, and join them in attacking a lesser enemy–khadaffi. do not be encouraged by the possible fact that getting us into another hopeless war would not have the effect of rescuing obama's toxic presidency—the fact that such an event would harm the united states is sufficient to cause obama to start it–after he fully understands the situation.

  • johndoba

    I have developed a profound mistrust of this man. I agree with the guests on the Glazov Show that he's probably a marxist/socialist atheist— but the taqiyya factor, along with his endless "the Holy Qu'ran" meme and other utterances of commitment and support for Islam, lend enough weight to the doubt equation that we have to ask: is he actually, truly committed to DESTROYING the United States? He has done much already to get us there. If his intention is to remain in power and proceed with an agenda of deconstruction of imperial US and western power, and if he's faced with loss of that power—then get ready for a manufactured crisis, either before the election, or before the next inauguration, that leads to national emergency and the imposition of martial law/emergency conditions. I hope I'm wrong and paranoid but after observing his actions, character and background, this has been my worry now for many months.

  • amused

    Well lets see , it Oct.25th , so Obama 's got six days to launch his " October Surprise " War.

    BTW curmudgeon , cut the crap you hated Obama since Nov.7 , 2008. You're all wet with your partisan parrot B.S.

  • amused

    So , Mr.Greenfield , you cast the aspersion of a "October Surprise " , a war that Obama would start to give him a bump , but after realizing it was Oct.24th already , and you realize that in 6 days he will not attack Iran , and he's already made it clear what the extent of our involvement with Syria under present circumstances will be …….you change your own mind , based of course on your prescient presumption that you know what he's thinking and what he will think , and why Obama "must've changed his mind " ?
    Can you pick me some winning lottery numbers Greenfield ?

    • truebearing

      Look up the definitions of "prescient' and "presumption." Maybe you won't be inclined to use them together in your next jeremiad. If one has foreknowledge about something, they can't be presumptuous about that thing, simultaneously. Duh.

      You do whip up a fine word salad, Bemused.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "So , Mr.Greenfield , you cast the aspersion of a "October Surprise " , a war that Obama would start to give him a bump , but after realizing it was Oct.24th already , and you realize that in 6 days he will not attack Iran , and he's already made it clear what the extent of our involvement with Syria under present circumstances will be …….you change your own mind , based of course on your prescient presumption that you know what he's thinking and what he will think , and why Obama "must've changed his mind " ?
      Can you pick me some winning lottery numbers Greenfield ?"

      That's your weakest troll so far…today.

  • popseal

    Unfortunately for Ameria, our leaders put their personal agenda through a political calculation evaluation and act according the their own aggrandizement and to Hell with the public's best interest. I expect his crew behind the curtain (Bilderbergs and Davos elitist) to start a 'good news' campaign around the world that stops the Romney surge.

  • Wally

    "The American people aren't stupid".
    Would that you were right, unfortunately, they are, very very much so…

  • Stephen

    Regrettably, I agree with Wally. A nation that was so breezily manipulated into hating Bush, and has for the past 4 years been so easily manipulated into accepting most of Obama's lies, is simply dumb & getting dumber.

  • truebearing

    My guess is that Obama will orchestrate something with the Islamists, if he has to give them a nuke to get their cooperation. Obama is nothing if not treacherous.

  • weroinnm

    Middle East Analyst: U.S. Appeases Muslim Brotherhood; Syria in Possession of Missiles! http://wethepeopleusa.ning.com/profiles/blogs/mid
    “Food For Thought”
    Semper Fi!
    Jake

  • BLJ

    Obama declared war on the American people the day he took the oath of office.