“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Obama Seizing Victory from Jaws

Call this the audacity of audacity, but Obama is poised to take credit for what appears to be a possible and at this stage likely win in Iraq. McCain through pique and barely repressed anger seems handicapped in adequately responding to the Obama strategy.

Obama is a bullshit artist extraordinaire. McCain supports the surge and Obama responds with the putsch. Bush, the architect, and McCain, the promoter, are caught flatfooted while Obama floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.

An Emerging Victory in Iraq, Defeat for McCain

July 24, 2008, 6:37PM

Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

IT is ironic, but victory in Iraq could mean defeat for John McCain.

Crown the lucky Barack Obama, bury the courageous McCain — what a fate for a warrior senator who has played a key leadership role in Iraq's emerging victory.

I'll repeat that description: "emerging victory." Terror campaigns and insurgencies end with diminishing codas of violence.

In a recent column, I referenced the "Strategic Overwatch" video that appeared on the Internet the first week of June. "Overwatch" is a military term. At the tactical level, one soldier moves, the other "covers" him (overwatches), ready to suppress enemy fire. At the strategic level, allied nations "cover" one another.

"Strategic Overwatch" is also a term I encountered when I served in the plans section of Multi-National Corps-Iraq in 2004 — a desirable strategic condition I thought the coalition and Iraqis could achieve.

"Strategic Overwatch" is a limited victory for a United States willing to remain a reliable Iraqi ally. "Strategic Overwatch" protects the much more enthusiastic Iraqi version of victory. After his May 6, 2008, speech at Quantico, Va., I asked Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations Hamid Al Bayati what would constitute victory for the Iraqi people. He responded viscerally, "Every day we have democracy is a victory for the Iraqi people."

How blunt. The Iraqis have earned their democracy, and we owe them a solid alliance.

The video summarizes "Strategic Overwatch" ( You can use the guest click in feature) in this manner:

Assumptions: The United States is in Iraq for the long haul; Iraqi political progress continues.

Time to Develop: Could emerge by mid- to late 2009, full-fledged by 2011.

Related Events: Iraqi army continues to re-arm and modernize; Iraq and the United States agree to a "long-range cooperation agreement" the Iraqi people see as advantageous to Iraq; ... Iraq begins to attract steady and sustained private investment; members of the Arab League begin forging stronger political and economic ties with Iraq.

Effect on Average Iraqi: Increased GDP ultimately means a wealthier society; Iraqi neighborhoods revive; Baghdad's business community revives and the city's nightlife returns.

Effect on Region: Increased internal trouble in Iran as Iranian people object to the corrupt mullocracy and to the lack of democracy in Iran; Iraqi-Turkish relations continue to strengthen; Iraq becomes more assertive in Middle East politics and economic affairs; more Shia Arab strife occurs in Lebanon (stoked by Iran) with the goal of distracting Iraqi Shias and-or "radicalizing" Iraqi foreign policy; Jordan re-emerges as a staunch ally of Iraq.

Eight weeks after the scenario hit the Web, we should change "could emerge" to "is emerging." Credit the Iraqis with accelerating the process. Operation Charge of the Knights (March-May 2008), which most so-called media experts immediately labeled the "Basra blunder," demonstrated that the Iraqi army's operational capabilities had improved and that the Maliki government could astutely turn security success into political solidification. Iraqi gains mean a significant reduction in coalition combat forces could come by late 2009, with complete Iraqi combat responsibility by late 2010.

So why the irony? Barack Obama wanted to withdraw because Harry Reid and the Democratic Party insisted we'd lost. As "Strategic Overwatch" develops, the United States can begin reducing its combat role because we are winning — and "we" includes the Iraqis. McCain ought to reap the reward, but given the national media's creampuff treatment of Obama, the next "instant truth" will be "see, we can withdraw."

But before Obama declares peace in our time, consider the "Effect on Region" paragraph. The Iraqis want an alliance. That means Washington must be prepared to back Iraq in a confrontation with Iran. We know McCain can handle that dangerous test. In the maelstrom moment when an Obama-advocated rapid military withdrawal would have devastated the Iraqis, McCain stood firm.

Bay, a nationally syndicated columnist based in Texas, specializes in military and foreign affairs.


  1. Call this the audacity of audacity, but Obama is poised to take credit for what appears to be a possible and at this stage likely win in Iraq. McCain through pique and barely repressed anger seems handicapped in adequately responding to the Obama strategy.

    Obama is a bullshit artist extraordinaire. McCain supports the surge and Obama responds with the putsch. Bush the architect and McCain the promoter are caught flatfooted while Obama floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.

  2. Obama's Outlook for Israel, Iran Back to the 'Auschwitz' borders of '67 for Israel. We need the carrot and stick approach to Iran.

    This guy is either naive, or wicked. Maybe both.

  3. It is very frustrating al-bob, but it looks like we have a 57 Chevy prepared to road rally with a BMW M-5. Not totally impossible but be prepared for some hairy cornering.

  4. With 90% of the press in Obama's corner it's hard for McCain to get a point in. There's so many avenues of attack, but all we're hearing is an enforced silence. Obama in front of the millions, McCain at a few town hall meetings, barely mentioned in the papers. They better be working up some darn good ads for the fall campaign.

  5. I'll put my 1960 Ford F-600 up against that Chevy any day of the week.
    (In a game of chicken)

  6. McCain needs a dazzling choice for VP. Any dazzlers out there?

  7. Maybe we should forget winning and go for good theater. Newt Gingrich.

  8. Find us the pussy nebulae. it has to be out there somewhere.

  9. Pussy nebulae is there, but I'm keeping it for myself.

    Saw some odds today. Pawlenty 2:1 Romney 3:1 Jindal out of it, the Alaskan barracuda, out of it.

    I'm still with Paris Hilton. She dazzles, and has good legs. Would take the attention away from McCain's balding pate.

  10. Your a lucky man al-bob. Men have been searching for it since they first looked to the sky.

  11. I've been saying it for a couple of years, now.

    The first to declare victory in Iraq, will win, politically, in the US. That Team43 and the entourage refuse to afmit real success, but keep putting it off, has left this window open for Obama.

    Maverick is playing his role, true to his historic norm. But has lost the edge he used to have with the national press corps.

  12. The Campaign Media Analysis Group, a division of TNS Media Intelligence, tracks candidates' ad purchases across the country. "Obama's buying right now in over 20 states, including North Carolina, Georgia, North Dakota, and Montana--states that you just don't talk about Democratic presidential candidates targeting," said Evan Tracey, CMAG's founder and chief operating officer.

    Take Georgia, Indiana, and Virginia--three states that Republican presidential nominees usually count on. The Obama campaign has spent at least $1 million so far on TV ads in each of them. The McCain campaign? Nothing in Georgia. Nothing in Indiana. Less than $1 million in Virginia.

    Polls show that national security is the area where Democrat Barack Obama is weakest. By nearly 3-to-1 (72 percent to 25 percent) in this month's Washington Post/ABC News poll, voters say that McCain would be a "good commander-in-chief of the military." And Obama? They're evenly divided, 48 percent to 48 percent.

    Obama's red-state ads try to burnish his national security credentials--and play up his willingness to work with Republicans. Obama says in one ad, "The single most important national security threat that we face is nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists. What I did was reach out to Senator Dick Lugar, a Republican, to help lock down loose nuclear weapons."

    Does Obama really expect to carry the red states where he's advertising? Well, maybe. A Republican administration as unpopular as President Bush's creates opportunities for Democrats everywhere.

    But there's another reason: money. Obama's fundraising is far outpacing McCain's. In June, Obama raised $52 million, while McCain collected $22 million. McCain will accept public funding for the general election; Obama will not. So, after the Republican convention in early September, McCain will be limited to spending $85 million. For the Obama campaign, the sky's the limit. Obama wants the battlefield to be as large as possible. Fifty states!