Friday, December 21, 2012

The Fallout Begins

As Diplopundit and the media have noted, four senior State Department employees have lost their jobs over the attacks in Benghazi. We have been silent, for reasons having nothing to do with those events, but feel the need to say the following:

Benghazi was a terrible tragedy. Four good men, patriots, colleagues, family members, lost their lives in service to the American people.  They were killed, in part, because they were not adequately protected. That is hugely sad and unfortunate.

Of the four people punished for that event by being let go, the highest-ranking should have left long ago. Another, the lowest in the DS chain, had made some difficult decisions badly. The other two were, like our colleagues in Benghazi, in the wrong place at the wrong time. One will be sorely missed by DS, which would have benefited greatly from his continued service.

A very large part of the problem has not been addressed. Yes, bad decisions were made. And yes, the results were tragic.

Congress is currently saying, every day, that when there is not enough money, difficult choices have to be made. State, which received less than adequate security funding from that same Congress, made difficult choices.

Security funding is insurance. And like all insurance, you pray you will never need it. It is expensive. And if the security works well, it looks like a lot of money has been spent for nothing. In this climate, government officials who look like they are spending a lot of money for nothing get hammered. Particularly if you have to get waivers for other rules in order to spend that money. So people send their limited resources to the places that look like they need it most, and hope for the best.

The problem is that the enemy looks for weak spots. And the enemy has eyes now all over the world. So they find the spots where the money has not been spent for insurance. Very quickly, a place that looks "safer" in comparison, can become, in retrospect, the place that needed it the most.  Monitoring that takes resources as well. And again, when all goes well, the money spent monitoring that looks wasted.

Bad choices were made, and heads should roll. But if bad choices were made, they were made because the funding to make the best choices was not there. That does not excuse what happened. But there is blame to go around, and a lot of it lies with those high up on a Hill, who, while talking a strong game now, considered the amount State asked for, for insurance, too expensive to fund.

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