November 5 is set to become a significant day for the Bush administration and its operations in Iraq. In case you haven't heard, Saddam is currently expected to receive a verdict in his trail today. It's always possible that the verdict could be delayed. The prosecutor raised that suggestion early last week, but it just might be that Prime Minister al-Maliki decided that he exhibited enough independence earlier this week when he forced American forces to redeploy in their search for a kidnapped soldier, effectively undermining the current attempts to locate and rescue him. Saddam's defense has entered a motion to delay as well, asserting that they've yet to present their final arguments in the case. Neither of these options seem likely, however, so Iraqi forces are getting ready to face a huge reaction when the verdict is returned.
The question we've got to ask here, of course, is what effect will this have on domestic elections. The Democrats seem to think that this will provide a huge upswing for Bush and the Republicans. Glenn Greenwald has an excellent piece on what the Democrats should be doing but aren't. They're acting like it's a bombshell waiting to be dropped that could or will shift the momentum in this week's voting. Comparing the situation to that faced at a trial, Greenwald writes that an experienced attorney would attack the bombshell by getting out in front of it and diluting the effect it can have. Instead of doing that, Greenwald writes, the Dems are sitting and waiting to be smacked down. They're acting like it's a November surprise that they've seen coming for quite some time.
But I have to wonder if it's quite so cut and dried. The Washington Post reports that Iraqis are extremely concerned that a guilty verdict will result in even more turmoil among the population. If that's the case, how will Americans react? Will Bush get the bump in the polls he so desperately needs? Will an even more active insurgency remind the American public of everything it hates about the war and boomerang on the Bushies? The Democrats seem determined to remain unable to capitalize on the situation, but they may benefit from it anyway.
UPDATED--It's 3:20, and I'm not quite in bed yet. Saddam was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. Developing, as they say.