State of Disunion

The clumsiness and incoherence, if not madness, of this administration’s foreign policies are creating havoc around the world.  No one wrapped up the story of the chaos better than Sultan Knish did this week:

When Bush left office at the end of his second term, the region was mostly stable aside from Iran’s nuclear program. By the time Obama had finished his first term, it was in a state of endless war.

[snip]

Bush had sought to stabilize the Middle East by removing Saddam. Obama instead destabilized it by trying to remove every government that was in any way friendly to the United States and was not covered by the umbrella of the Saudi GCC.

Bush’s Axis of Evil had consisted of “rogue states”. Obama’s Axis was made up of allied governments. Bush had set out to stabilize the Middle East by clearing out rogue states while Obama set out to empower rogue states by clearing out stable allied governments… which left the rogue states in charge.

The fall of more modern pro-Western governments left the Middle East divided sharply between Sunni and Shiite Islamists in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

[snip]

Obama’s abandonment of Iraq led to a comeback for Al Qaeda in Iraq. Al Qaeda in Iraq had always been the most feral Middle Eastern franchise in the Al Qaeda family. The most brutal, the most senselessly violent and the likeliest to kill just for the sake of killing; its members seemed sociopathic even to hardened Al Qaeda leaders. And Bush had succeeded in burying it until Obama dug it up again.

The sectarian split in Iraq and Syria turned Al Qaeda in Iraq from a defeated footnote to a resurgent army with tens of thousands of fighters and a grip on two major countries.

[snip]

The Arab Spring had been Obama’s international ObamaCare. It was the project that he was most identified with and the one that he could most take credit for. But by the time the Arab Spring had come down to bombing Syria, it was about as popular as ObamaCare. Russia, Iran and Syria offered Obama a way out. A new, new beginning to replace the old new beginning that had gone wrong in Cairo.

Having sold out Iraq, Egypt and Tunisia, Obama finished the job by dumping the rest of his Sunni allies and taking a ride on the Shiite nuclear express.

[snip]

No country in the Middle East still trusts the United States. Egypt despises Obama. The Saudis insult him. The rest don’t even bother to do that much. The Israeli Defense Minister talks of dealing with Iran alone.

[snip]

The one thing that all the parties in Egypt, that Sunni and Shiite from Syria to Iraq to Lebanon, that Christian, Jew and Muslim can agree on, is that the Middle East would have been better off if Obama had kept his mouth shut and stayed away.

Particular attention this week was paid to the Libyan disaster at Benghazi, where former acting CIA Deputy Director Morell (now working for Beacon Global Strategies, an operation run by former Clinton and Obama officials) testified inconsistently and bizarrely before Congress.  Former CBS reporter and honest journalist Sheryl Attkisson described his inconsistent testimony.  Here’s a bit of her report:

When Morell’s own C.I.A. station chief in Tripoli, Libya sent evidence that the Benghazi attacks were not the outgrowth of protests over a YouTube video, he says he and his Washington analysts disregarded it and didn’t pass it along to other agencies.

Morell was called to testify after several Republican member of Congress alleged new evidence shows he misled them by withholding what he knew about the genesis of the government’s so-called talking points after the attacks. It turns out that Morell was a key player in editing the talking points and interfacing with the White House.

​Under questioning from members on the committee, Morell described a process under which C.I.A. analysts in Washington provided an early assessment without seeking or receiving information from the many C.I.A. officers and other witnesses on the ground in Libya. And when the C.I.A. Tripoli station chief attempted to correct the record in an email to headquarters on Sept. 15, 2012, Morell says it was discounted as unreliable. According to Morell, the email claimed the attacks were “not an escalation of a protest.” However, Morell said that intel relied on press reports and C.I.A. officers on sight who probably would have arrived too late to see a protest anyway.

“My actions were appropriate in response as Deputy Director of CIA,” Morell testified. “I immediately recognized the discrepancy between my station chief and the judgment of our [Washington] analysts.”

​Morell says he asked his analysts to revisit their judgment and “they stuck to their initial conclusion” that the attacks were by protesters. Morell defended the decision. “I did not hide nor did I downplay the station chief’s comments as some have suggested, in fact I did the opposite,” Morell said today.

But as a result of the misinformation, the approved talking points provided to members of Congress and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice continued to perpetuate the mistaken narrative that spontaneous protesters rather than calculated terrorists launched the attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

How convenient that the man who ignored the reports on the ground in favor of a cock-and-bull narrative that protected Obama’s re-election puffery about al-Qaeda being dead because “he” killed Osama bin Laden lands in such a cushy post-government slot.  How awful for us all that the CIA and its intelligence assessment was so obviously politicized.

If you recall, part of the scandal of Benghazi - besides the baldfaced lying about the perpetrators and motivation - was that the Department of State refused Ambassador Stevens’s pleas for extra security.

So while the press covers Hillary’s yapping about “a double standard for women” as she rakes in millions from low-information women, it largely buries the fact that under her, the Department of State lost and misplaced six billion dollars because of sloppy accounting and poor auditing procedures on outside contracting.  I can’t imagine a male secretary of state getting more gentle coverage of such poor executive management than she got.

The State Department misplaced and lost some $6 billion due to the improper filing of contracts during the past six years, mainly during the tenure of former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, according to a newly released Inspector General report.

The $6 billion in unaccounted funds poses a “significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions,” according to the report.

The alert, originally sent on March 20 and just released this week, warns that the missing contracting funds “could expose the department to substantial financial losses.”

The report centered on State Department contracts worth “more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all,” according to the alert.

"The failure to maintain contract files adequately creates significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions,” the alert states.

The situation “creates conditions conducive to fraud, as corrupt individuals may attempt to conceal evidence of illicit behavior by omitting key documents from the contract file,” the report concluded.[snip]

“A recent OIG audit of the closeout process for contracts supporting the U.S. Mission in Iraq revealed that contracting officials were unable to provide 33 of 115 contract files requested in accordance with the audit sampling plan,” the report states.

The value of the 33 “missing files” totaled $2.1 billion, according to the report.

Additionally, 48 of the 82 contract files that were produced “did not contain all of the documentation required by” internal regulations, according to the report.

The 48 “incomplete files” were worth another $2.1 billion, according to the report.

A further audit of the department’s Bureau of African Affairs found that administrators “were unable to provide complete contract administration files for any of the eight contracts that were reviewed.”

These contracts were worth $34.8 million.

The investigation also found instances in which a company owned by the spouse of a contractor employee was not properly documented[.]

Even Hillary could not, when pressed, come up with any concrete examples of achievement, though the interviewer, the New York Times’ Tom Friedman, bobble-headed encouragingly throughout, as if she had actually said something substantive, instead of her usual disingenuous verbal tap-dancing .

As Powerline observes: 

“There is an unintentionally satirical component to her brief answer as well. She claims as part of the legacy of her accomplishments our ability “to deal with problems like Ukraine because we’re not so worried about a massive collapse in Europe and China…” Somebody cue the laugh track!”

And then there’s her successor, who, doubtless wanting a Nobel Prize to attach to his yacht, has been engaged in a fruitless, feckless effort to make peace in the Mideast.  This week, he even leaked a thoroughly insulting offer to release Jonathan Pollard in exchange for Palestinian terrorists held by Israel, something even Pollard, convicted of spying, felt beneath him. In any event, the collapse was made obvious when the Palestinians slapped a glove in his face by taking their plea for recognition to the only outfit more clueless and weak than our Department of State: the United Nations.

Like Powerline cuing the laugh track on Hillary’s “accomplishments," Tom Maguire is amused that the New York Times finally realizes that Secretary of State Kerry’s efforts in the Middle East are futile.

The NY Times comes home to reality:

Keeping Mideast Talks Going Has Become an End in Itself

Who knew?

The Times puts the players on the couch:

All three parties have vested interests in the engagement: negotiations often come with tangible take-homes for the Palestinians, ease international pressure on Israel and lend credibility to the Obama administration’s faltering foreign policy. But now all three parties are calculating the costs as well: how long can Mr. Kerry continue chasing an elusive peace while there is so much else to deal with in a tumultuous world, and how can Israeli and Palestinian leaders avoid looking weak to their skeptical constituents and fractured governments?

...

The peace process has been churning for more than 20 years now, taking on a life of its own and becoming something of an end in itself. Some analysts see the Kerry-fueled negotiations as inhibiting a reckoning with the fundamental gulfs between the Israeli and Palestinian positions. The parties have spent hundreds of hours in recent weeks debating the particulars of which prisoners might be freed when; any discussion of how to divide Jerusalem, where to draw a border or the rights of refugees is a distant memory.

There is a culture of codependency surrounding the talks, with Mr. Kerry -- whose umpteen visits and phone calls have provided life support in the last months -- cast in the role of enabler. One Israeli columnist this week likened him to a nanny offering aspirin instead of a cure. Another column was headlined, “Mr. Kerry, Go Home.”

There is a Nobel Prize out there with John Kerry's name on it. He just knows it!

Any day now the Times will discover that the talks in Syria are all process and no result.

I really think our best hope - short of doing away with the department of State and starting over - is to place at its head some really first-rate rug and used car dealers, instead of Ivy League-credentialed morons.

The clumsiness and incoherence, if not madness, of this administration’s foreign policies are creating havoc around the world.  No one wrapped up the story of the chaos better than Sultan Knish did this week:

When Bush left office at the end of his second term, the region was mostly stable aside from Iran’s nuclear program. By the time Obama had finished his first term, it was in a state of endless war.

[snip]

Bush had sought to stabilize the Middle East by removing Saddam. Obama instead destabilized it by trying to remove every government that was in any way friendly to the United States and was not covered by the umbrella of the Saudi GCC.

Bush’s Axis of Evil had consisted of “rogue states”. Obama’s Axis was made up of allied governments. Bush had set out to stabilize the Middle East by clearing out rogue states while Obama set out to empower rogue states by clearing out stable allied governments… which left the rogue states in charge.

The fall of more modern pro-Western governments left the Middle East divided sharply between Sunni and Shiite Islamists in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

[snip]

Obama’s abandonment of Iraq led to a comeback for Al Qaeda in Iraq. Al Qaeda in Iraq had always been the most feral Middle Eastern franchise in the Al Qaeda family. The most brutal, the most senselessly violent and the likeliest to kill just for the sake of killing; its members seemed sociopathic even to hardened Al Qaeda leaders. And Bush had succeeded in burying it until Obama dug it up again.

The sectarian split in Iraq and Syria turned Al Qaeda in Iraq from a defeated footnote to a resurgent army with tens of thousands of fighters and a grip on two major countries.

[snip]

The Arab Spring had been Obama’s international ObamaCare. It was the project that he was most identified with and the one that he could most take credit for. But by the time the Arab Spring had come down to bombing Syria, it was about as popular as ObamaCare. Russia, Iran and Syria offered Obama a way out. A new, new beginning to replace the old new beginning that had gone wrong in Cairo.

Having sold out Iraq, Egypt and Tunisia, Obama finished the job by dumping the rest of his Sunni allies and taking a ride on the Shiite nuclear express.

[snip]

No country in the Middle East still trusts the United States. Egypt despises Obama. The Saudis insult him. The rest don’t even bother to do that much. The Israeli Defense Minister talks of dealing with Iran alone.

[snip]

The one thing that all the parties in Egypt, that Sunni and Shiite from Syria to Iraq to Lebanon, that Christian, Jew and Muslim can agree on, is that the Middle East would have been better off if Obama had kept his mouth shut and stayed away.

Particular attention this week was paid to the Libyan disaster at Benghazi, where former acting CIA Deputy Director Morell (now working for Beacon Global Strategies, an operation run by former Clinton and Obama officials) testified inconsistently and bizarrely before Congress.  Former CBS reporter and honest journalist Sheryl Attkisson described his inconsistent testimony.  Here’s a bit of her report:

When Morell’s own C.I.A. station chief in Tripoli, Libya sent evidence that the Benghazi attacks were not the outgrowth of protests over a YouTube video, he says he and his Washington analysts disregarded it and didn’t pass it along to other agencies.

Morell was called to testify after several Republican member of Congress alleged new evidence shows he misled them by withholding what he knew about the genesis of the government’s so-called talking points after the attacks. It turns out that Morell was a key player in editing the talking points and interfacing with the White House.

​Under questioning from members on the committee, Morell described a process under which C.I.A. analysts in Washington provided an early assessment without seeking or receiving information from the many C.I.A. officers and other witnesses on the ground in Libya. And when the C.I.A. Tripoli station chief attempted to correct the record in an email to headquarters on Sept. 15, 2012, Morell says it was discounted as unreliable. According to Morell, the email claimed the attacks were “not an escalation of a protest.” However, Morell said that intel relied on press reports and C.I.A. officers on sight who probably would have arrived too late to see a protest anyway.

“My actions were appropriate in response as Deputy Director of CIA,” Morell testified. “I immediately recognized the discrepancy between my station chief and the judgment of our [Washington] analysts.”

​Morell says he asked his analysts to revisit their judgment and “they stuck to their initial conclusion” that the attacks were by protesters. Morell defended the decision. “I did not hide nor did I downplay the station chief’s comments as some have suggested, in fact I did the opposite,” Morell said today.

But as a result of the misinformation, the approved talking points provided to members of Congress and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice continued to perpetuate the mistaken narrative that spontaneous protesters rather than calculated terrorists launched the attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

How convenient that the man who ignored the reports on the ground in favor of a cock-and-bull narrative that protected Obama’s re-election puffery about al-Qaeda being dead because “he” killed Osama bin Laden lands in such a cushy post-government slot.  How awful for us all that the CIA and its intelligence assessment was so obviously politicized.

If you recall, part of the scandal of Benghazi - besides the baldfaced lying about the perpetrators and motivation - was that the Department of State refused Ambassador Stevens’s pleas for extra security.

So while the press covers Hillary’s yapping about “a double standard for women” as she rakes in millions from low-information women, it largely buries the fact that under her, the Department of State lost and misplaced six billion dollars because of sloppy accounting and poor auditing procedures on outside contracting.  I can’t imagine a male secretary of state getting more gentle coverage of such poor executive management than she got.

The State Department misplaced and lost some $6 billion due to the improper filing of contracts during the past six years, mainly during the tenure of former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, according to a newly released Inspector General report.

The $6 billion in unaccounted funds poses a “significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions,” according to the report.

The alert, originally sent on March 20 and just released this week, warns that the missing contracting funds “could expose the department to substantial financial losses.”

The report centered on State Department contracts worth “more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all,” according to the alert.

"The failure to maintain contract files adequately creates significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions,” the alert states.

The situation “creates conditions conducive to fraud, as corrupt individuals may attempt to conceal evidence of illicit behavior by omitting key documents from the contract file,” the report concluded.[snip]

“A recent OIG audit of the closeout process for contracts supporting the U.S. Mission in Iraq revealed that contracting officials were unable to provide 33 of 115 contract files requested in accordance with the audit sampling plan,” the report states.

The value of the 33 “missing files” totaled $2.1 billion, according to the report.

Additionally, 48 of the 82 contract files that were produced “did not contain all of the documentation required by” internal regulations, according to the report.

The 48 “incomplete files” were worth another $2.1 billion, according to the report.

A further audit of the department’s Bureau of African Affairs found that administrators “were unable to provide complete contract administration files for any of the eight contracts that were reviewed.”

These contracts were worth $34.8 million.

The investigation also found instances in which a company owned by the spouse of a contractor employee was not properly documented[.]

Even Hillary could not, when pressed, come up with any concrete examples of achievement, though the interviewer, the New York Times’ Tom Friedman, bobble-headed encouragingly throughout, as if she had actually said something substantive, instead of her usual disingenuous verbal tap-dancing .

As Powerline observes: 

“There is an unintentionally satirical component to her brief answer as well. She claims as part of the legacy of her accomplishments our ability “to deal with problems like Ukraine because we’re not so worried about a massive collapse in Europe and China…” Somebody cue the laugh track!”

And then there’s her successor, who, doubtless wanting a Nobel Prize to attach to his yacht, has been engaged in a fruitless, feckless effort to make peace in the Mideast.  This week, he even leaked a thoroughly insulting offer to release Jonathan Pollard in exchange for Palestinian terrorists held by Israel, something even Pollard, convicted of spying, felt beneath him. In any event, the collapse was made obvious when the Palestinians slapped a glove in his face by taking their plea for recognition to the only outfit more clueless and weak than our Department of State: the United Nations.

Like Powerline cuing the laugh track on Hillary’s “accomplishments," Tom Maguire is amused that the New York Times finally realizes that Secretary of State Kerry’s efforts in the Middle East are futile.

The NY Times comes home to reality:

Keeping Mideast Talks Going Has Become an End in Itself

Who knew?

The Times puts the players on the couch:

All three parties have vested interests in the engagement: negotiations often come with tangible take-homes for the Palestinians, ease international pressure on Israel and lend credibility to the Obama administration’s faltering foreign policy. But now all three parties are calculating the costs as well: how long can Mr. Kerry continue chasing an elusive peace while there is so much else to deal with in a tumultuous world, and how can Israeli and Palestinian leaders avoid looking weak to their skeptical constituents and fractured governments?

...

The peace process has been churning for more than 20 years now, taking on a life of its own and becoming something of an end in itself. Some analysts see the Kerry-fueled negotiations as inhibiting a reckoning with the fundamental gulfs between the Israeli and Palestinian positions. The parties have spent hundreds of hours in recent weeks debating the particulars of which prisoners might be freed when; any discussion of how to divide Jerusalem, where to draw a border or the rights of refugees is a distant memory.

There is a culture of codependency surrounding the talks, with Mr. Kerry -- whose umpteen visits and phone calls have provided life support in the last months -- cast in the role of enabler. One Israeli columnist this week likened him to a nanny offering aspirin instead of a cure. Another column was headlined, “Mr. Kerry, Go Home.”

There is a Nobel Prize out there with John Kerry's name on it. He just knows it!

Any day now the Times will discover that the talks in Syria are all process and no result.

I really think our best hope - short of doing away with the department of State and starting over - is to place at its head some really first-rate rug and used car dealers, instead of Ivy League-credentialed morons.

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