Maurer: Joe Biden and a failure of leadership (10/14/12)

Pearl Harbor was an intelligence failure; Benghazi was a failure of leadership. Photo: Joe Biden

WASHINGTON, October 14, 2012 – Any substance in Thursday’s vice-presidential debate was overshadowed by Joe Biden’s bizarre, sometimes maniacal behavior—but the substance of what he actually said was as bizarre as the way he said it.

A case in point was his insistence that the administration didn’t know what was coming in Behngazi: that the attack on the embassy was a surprise facilitated by a failure of intelligence.

Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Perhaps Mr. Biden, being sequestered in debate preparations, missed the news, reported even by the Huffington Post on Tuesday, that the State Department had abandoned their initial claims of a protest outside the gates of the embassy. Perhaps he missed the information provided to Congress by intelligence community representatives the very day of the debate that there were more than 230 security incidents in Libya between June 2011 and July 2012 and that 48 of them took place in Benghazi.

Rep. Mike Kelly reported these and other findings in the Washington Times the day before the debate. Perhaps Mr. Biden, like his boss, doesn’t attend his daily security briefings.

We have even heard the Libyan government say that they warned us in advance and that requests from people on the ground for more protection were ignored.

Was it political correctness that made the State Department ignore the warnings?

Paul Ryan made an excellent point in the debate when he said that the Paris Embassy had security, shouldn’t Benghazi have had adequate security, too?

Not far from Paris at the Vienna embassy, there was $108,000 to purchase an electric vehicle charging station for the embassy motor pool’s new Chevrolet Volts. The purchase was a part of the State Department’s “Energy Efficiency Sweep of Europe” initiative, which included hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on green program expenditures at various U.S. Embassies.

But there was no money for security in Libya where a transitional government is not in full control of events.

So why was there no money? Biden tried to pin the blame directly on Ryan by saying that the Congress had voted to cut State Department spending. That was wrong on several levels.

First, while the House and even Rep. Ryan may have voted to cut State Department spending, that vote has meant nothing in practice. The Senate hasn’t passed a budget in three years (1264 days as of today to be exact). This is blatantly against the law which requires Congress to pass a budget every year.

Without a budget, how does the government continue to operate? They operate by continuing resolution which means that they have been operating at 2009 spending levels.

This suits the present administration just fine. Recall that within two months of taking office, Obama and the Democrat 111th Congress not only passed the $800 billion stimulus bill but also passed a yearly budget increased by almost the same amount.

The $500 billion deficit that Obama campaigned against in 2008 has, as a result, been over $1 trillion every year since.

Consider the effect on the State Department. The department gets an increase in 2009, sustained over the next three years. Have the number of embassies changed much? Does that mean they can’t afford security at Benghazi? And yet Biden calls out Ryan for voting against this bloated budget.

While the Congress has authorized the same spending levels for State, it is the State Department, not Congress, who actually allocates that spending. That is the second reason Biden’s comment was misplaced.

Increase, decrease or keep spending the same, it was the State Department’s own internal spending decisions that were to blame.

Thirdly, as the green energy spending emphasizes, this administration centrally controls all the federal government from the White House in a way that no previous administration has done. 

From NASA viewing their mission as making Muslims feel good about themselves to the Justice Department pursuing an anti-gun agenda to the Agriculture Department pursuing Michelle Obama’s plan to control what school children eat to the State Department applying a green energy agenda, each of the departments of the federal government follow a centrally-controlled agenda rather than the following the purposes for which they were founded and are funded.

In a nutshell: there was no lack of funding and there was no lack of intelligence, no matter how much Joe Biden screams “It’s a fact.”  

The only thing lacking was Joe Biden and Barack Obama stepping off the campaign trail long enough to do their job to protect our Ambassador and staff.

Intelligence is about providing decision makers with information about the capabilities and intentions of potential adversaries. An intelligence failure is when that information is missing or, as at Pearl Harbor, doesn’t get to the right place at the right time. None of that applies to the terror attack at Benghazi.

The right people had the right information in plenty of time. What they chose to do with that information is the failure. It is a failure of leadership. It is the failure of a president too busy attending fundraisers to attend his daily security briefings.

It is the failure of his State Department whose priorities are misplaced and who’s funding is misapplied.

The Democratic Party of Harry Truman is long gone: with this party and this administration, the buck stops anywhere but in the Oval Office.

(This story originally publsihed October 14, 2012)


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More from Benghazi: Discussed and Disclosed
 
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Al Maurer

Al Maurer is a political scientist and founder of The Voice of Liberty. He writes on topics of limited government and individual rights.

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