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Belmont Club

The Road to Damascus

December 16th, 2012 - 2:47 pm

Thus, even though the SS Hope and Change has been holed below the waterline and may in fact be doomed, the relevant question preoccupying the cruise directors is how long before the passengers notice.  Probably the first passengers to notice something is wrong will be American Jews. “Major General Aviv Kochavi, chief of Israeli military intelligence, told Israeli lawmakers in a closed-door session that he is concerned about an influx of global jihadists into the Golan Heights, as the Syrian regime moves its forces out of the border region and into the cities to fight unrest, according to a statement from the office of the Knesset committee’s spokesman.” Instability in Jordan would create threats to the Jewish state as well.

After the Jews, a smattering of other nationalities may begin to question the reassurances of Cruise Director Axelrod.  There are almost certain to be substantial refugee flows in the near term. But barring the use of the Syrian chemical weapon arsenal, probably the biggest effect of the Syrian catastrophe will the conjoining of Gulf states and Salafist fighters throughout the region.

Max Boot warns that “it is hard-line Salafists who appear to be making the biggest military gains on the ground, to the consternation of more secular rebels, thus raising the specter of Syria becoming a Taliban-like state after Assad’s downfall–or, at the very least, the specter of Taliban-like extremists gaining control of substantial territorial enclaves. If that were to occur, the U.S. would have no to blame but itself because the Obama administration’s current policy of not arming the rebels is providing Persian Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar with an opening to shape the uprising in their own twisted image.”

By then even Lena Dunham might say “is this part of the show or is the ship sinking for real?” Well, ha ha ha. What do you do when the phrase “Osama Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!” doesn’t catch anymore? Why, sell a new phrase!  “Osama Bin Laden is alive and he’s selling gas to anything made by General Motors!” Is everybody happppy?

That is the something which even the most distracted revelers on the SS Hope and Change are likely to notice, an event that will probably manifest itself in more security threats to the U.S. Obama might be able to counteract this somewhat if he allows the development of domestic gas resources and ramps up his drone campaign. But the cat will be out of the bag and at some point he will be unable to conceal the true scale of the Syrian catastrophe.  Obama has managed to keep it under wraps so far:

Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R- UT) told Breitbart News on Wednesday that he has been “thwarted” by the State Department from seeing any Americans who survived the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Many people forget that there were Americans who survived the Benghazi attack, some of whom were badly injured and are still recovering.

“My understanding is that we still have some people in the hospital. I’d like to visit with them and wish them nothing but the best but the State Department has seen it unfit for me to know who those people are—or even how many there are,” Rep. Chaffetz said. “I don’t know who they are. I don’t know where they live. I don’t know what state they’re from. I don’t even know how many there are. It doesn’t seem right to me.”

Chaffetz’s story is eerily reminiscent of the treatment accorded to the Japanese survivors of the Midway Battle described in Jonathan Parshall’s Shattered Sword. “Hirohito issued a directive to the Naval General Staff  … that the Midway wounded were to return to Japan under tight security and be forbidden contacts, ‘until they could be healed, heartened, hushed, and reassigned.’”

This policy was put into effect as soon as the fleet reached Hashirajima. The wounded were transferred to the hospital ships HikairaMaru and Taleasago Maru, which in turn transported 280 and 338 cases, respectively, to naval hospitals at Kure, Sasebo, and Yokosuka. Many of the men were classified as “secret patients” and quarantined in special wards, cut off from both other sailors and family alike, in order that no word escaped regarding Kido Butai’s destruction. Both Fuchida and maintenance man Arimura suffered these indignities, as did Soryu’s badly burned executive officer, Cdr. Ohara Hisashi. Only specially cleared nurses and doctors were allowed into the wards, and there were fewer of those than need wanted. No communications in or out, not even letters from home, were permitted. Some of the men weren’t allowed to leave for a year or more and were shamed by the medical staffs at having been defeated.

They stopped the news from being reported in Japan. Too bad they couldn’t keep the Fleet from advancing on Japan as well.

It is difficult to put any other construction on the Blackout On Benghazi other than as an attempt to conceal Obama’s part in what Hannah called “the Syrian nightmare.” But just as Midway could not ultimately be concealed, neither can the strategic disasters of the Obama administration be spun forever.  Just be sure to get into the lifeboats when the time comes and to always remember to run towards the part of the SS Hope and Change that sinks last.

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