The View From 1776

Simplistic Foreign Policy

Obama’s policy of apologetic speeches and working through the UN to impose trade sanctions on Iran has failed to stop Iran’s progress toward operational nuclear weapons.  But in the Ryan-Biden debate, Vice President Biden charged that, if Republicans don’t support Obama’s repeated diplomatic palavers with the Ayatollahs, their only alternative is to go to war with Iran.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/13 at 01:19 AM
  1. Thomas,

    Check your facts. Your statement,

    "Still leading from behind, the Obama administration failed to send requested military security to Benghazi that could have prevented the assassination of our ambassador and three members of our diplomatic team."

    is not correct. The request was to send security to Tripoli where the embassy is located. There was no request for security for Benghazi, so even if more troops had been sitting in Tripoli, that would not have stopped the attack.

    Also note that Ryan and the other Republicans voted down the Administration's 300 million dollar request for additional embassy security. Ryan should acknowledge that.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/13  at  10:17 AM
  2. J. Jay

    What an imposter you are! The guy who never, ever bothers researching his own kneejerk assumptions for factual integrity (or lack thereof) is now lecturing our host (who does one heck of a lot of research) regarding an alleged fact-check failure! Nor did you bother checking your own ‘alternative factoids’ for reliability.

    According to your interpretation of events, the above Brewton quote (“Still leading from behind...”) is inaccurate because a) the request for additional guards was for Tripoli rather than Benghazi and b) guards sent to Tripoli would/could have been of no help in protecting our ambassador when he visited Tripoli.

    This interpretation assumes two things not in evidence. These are:

    a) guards sent to Tripoli can only be employed in Tripoli (i.e., Stevens had no authority to take guards with him to Benghazi)

    and

    b) there was no request for additional guards for Benghazi at any time leading up to the attack.

    As I shall demonstrate, any request for increased security in this context is to protect the ambassador as well as the embassy and its staff. As released State Department documents show, there was a lot of communication regarding the situation in Benghazi, including a situational assessment by Stevens detailing the June attack on the Benghazi consulate, al Qaeda activities in the neighborhood of Benghazi, the unreliability (impotence and unwillingness) of Libyan security forces to protect Americans, and emphasizing the need to beef up security there as well as in Tripoli. In terms of security, an ambassador is our most significant asset in a country like Libya. Wherever he happens to be at any given moment, is where our embassy exists (an embassy without an ambassador is just a building). For that reason, it is there that our security assets should focus (this is so trivial a point, I am almost embarrassed it has to be explained to you) rather than some base of operations for which the initial request is made. That makes the initial location of the assignment irrelevant to what happened in Benghazi.

    Job #1 of our guards in Libya is protecting the ambassador; even if that means lesser individuals must fend for themselves. At the same time, our ambassadors, as chief agents of our government overseas, are trained to look after the people placed in their care first; even if that puts them at greater risk. That security assets were so thin in Libya that Ambassador Stevens was forced to choose between taking guards with him to Benghazi (a place he and everyone else knew to be hostile) and leaving them in Tripoli to shield his staff was inexcusable (funding cuts not withstanding) on the part of his higher ups. President Obama has had no difficulty ignoring spending constraints on programs he deems important and a vote that Congressman Ryan made a year or two ago in completely different contexts and security environment (pre-Muslim uprising) has absolutely no bearing on how the State Department assigns its remaining assets (which are more than adequate to man high-risk embassies and consulates on a timely basis). Surely, a special ops team or Marines guarding less threatened consulates could have been temporarily reassigned to Tripoli and Benghazi in the weeks between urgent requests and the attack, or, at the very least, enough to Tripoli as Stevens would not have had to choose between personal and team security.

    As to Ryan causing State to withhold its assets from Benghazi, that is such a crock as even a clod can see through. First, Ryan’s proposal is no more than that, could not (even if passed) go into effect sooner than 2014, and cannot, therefore, have had any effect whatsoever on the Benghazi debacle of 2012. Second, though his proposal calls for a 19% across-the-board cut to all non-defense discretionary spending (which this is), it is not a ‘line-by-line’ proposal targeting critical needs such as this one. Ryan is perceptive and realist enough to know exceptions will be made to his proposal; and fully expects those will be hammered out by Congress over the next several months of haggling. Third, while Ryan did indeed vote for a $327-million cut to ‘Embassy Security, Construction and Maintenance’ from the proposed 2012 budget, this figure was not at his specific request, was a number hammered out between Congressional Republicans and Democrats (and Obama), and only a fraction of that number impacts embassy security personnel. Moreover, this was a cut not to prior spending but to what Obama proposed for 2012 (inflated above 2011 spending), and ought not, therefore, to be classed as a ‘spending cut’. Rather it was a ‘cut to proposed spending’. The actual amount cut to that line item is significantly less than $300-million, and had significant bipartisan support. If then, Ryan bears some responsibility for enacting the law in total, then so does every other Congressman, Senator and President (Obama) who approved it into law.

    Because Ryan is a true deficit-hawk, and not simply one more turf-defending parasite, his budget proposal took bites out of every budget, including defense and security. Had he pushed cuts for social spending while shielding defense and security, you Democrats would have had a field day ripping him as an ‘extremist’ and ‘partisan’. He knows the only way he can get a responsible, reasonable budget passed against Democrat intransigence is to make concessions; and that means defense and security must also be cut as a cost of passage. Democrats have long held defense and security as hostages in budget battles, while refusing almost any concession to social spending. Therefore, the fact Ryan went along with security cuts is less relevant than who engineered those cuts (i.e., Democrats have been pushing defense cuts for decades) and are the ones, therefore, who rightly authored this calamity. Going along with a policy is not the equivalent of pushing said policy (which is what you and Biden sneeringly imply). It was and remains Democrats who unrelentingly pushed cutting our defenses to bone; so it is there we must assign most or all the blame (if blame there be).


    Sources:

    http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/special-report-bret-baier/blog/2012/10/19/benghazi-documents-show-stevens-worried-about-security-threats-al-qaeda

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501706_162-57536593/timeline-of-events-comments-surrounding-benghazi/

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/oct/20/ambassador-stevens-warned-islamic-extremism-bengha/

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/oct/16/joe-biden/joe-biden-says-paul-ryan-cut-embassy-security-300-/ – Biden claim that Ryan proposed cutting $300-million from embassy security is a half-truth (aka, half-lie)

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/Decoder-Wire/2012/1012/Vice-presidential-debate-Did-Paul-Ryan-want-300-million-embassy-security-cut - Ryan did not target cuts to embassy security spending, rather he more vaguely ‘recommended’ a 19% across the board cut to discretionary non-defense spending of which embassy security is a miniscule part. Note also, the Ryan proposal language leaves room for adjustments that would preserve critical items like this.

    http://factcheck.org/2012/10/veep-debate-violations/

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2944177/posts

    http://www.google.com/search?q=ryan+reduced+embassy+security&hl=en&gbv=2&prmd=ivns&ei=EaCFUKj_PKe40AHXzYC4DA&start=20&sa=N
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/22  at  08:01 PM
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