McCain's October Surprise: Syria?

A small portrait of the translator

October 29, 2008 @ 12:59 UTC

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Iraq, Syria
Barack Obama, John McCain
International Relations, War & Conflict

This WaPo article also discusses the new policy shift marked by the attack on Syria. “By approving a U.S. military raid across the Iraqi border into Syria, Bush has changed the rules once again. Call it an October surprise — if not, at least so far, the October surprise.”

That's more or less what I called it at the time.

McCain campaign statements prove that the raid on Syria was perceived to have armed McCain with some new political amunition to use against Obama. WaPo reports:

John McCain's campaign said Monday that the successful U.S. strike against a terrorist target in Syria would not have happen ed if Barack Obama had been president.

In a sharply worded e-mail, McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb said: “If Barack Obama had his way, U.S. forces would not have been in a position to launch this strike. So does Barack Obama support this action — an action that would not even have been possible if his policies had been implemented?

McCain's statement also raised again Obama's willingness to meet with adversarial foreign leaders and the decision of one of Obama's foreign policy advisers to travel to Syria for meetings with its government.

In the statement, Goldfarb said: “Barack Obama has pledged to meet personally and unconditionally with Syria's leaders during his first year in office. While John McCain has been demanding that Syria do more to crack down on terrorists moving from its territory into Iraq, Barack Obama allowed one of his closest foreign policy advisers to travel to Syria for discussions with the leaders of that rogue regime.

Will this line of attack become a new television advertisement? And part of McCain's next speech?

How dare anyone suggest the political use to which McCain has put the military action was not the ultimate rationale for the White House to have approved it in the first place. No, the US news media will not go there.

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