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The New York Times and other outlets have reported that the Obama Administration is deploying resources to Libya to investigate and take action in the aftermath of the acts of terror that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya on September 11.
Due to an investigation by Congressman Darrell Issa, we have now learned that the State Department received 13 security threats over the past six months yet refused to bolster security or send additional resources.
Two years ago, Congress failed to hold President Obama accountable when he sent a military force to Libya without their authority. Now, we see what happens when a President’s national security policy is left unchecked.
Rather than operating from a strategic plan to protect the interests of the United States and our allies, the Obama Administration appears to view our national security policy as nothing more than a way to stage photo opportunities and plant positive news stories.
Our strategic aim for using force in Libya was never clear. The argument for sending our military resources was never made to the American people. We may have helped the uprising that took down Muammar Gaddafi, but what was the strategy beyond overthrowing him? We sent in American workers without the appropriate security.
But President Obama is not the only one who should be blamed. Congress also bears responsibility for holding the Executive Branch accountable to the American people.
Two years ago, Congress missed its chance to call out President Obama for taking military action without their consent. That set a dangerous precedent for the future. The Framers of the Constitution explicitly gave Congress the authority to declare war or approve the use of troops in order to prevent the Office of the President from becoming too powerful.
Yet, our current Congress willingly ceded that power.
This attack in Libya demonstrates what happens when the U.S. Congress does not follow through with its job to approve our foreign policy. Much of the problem comes from continually electing individuals who do not have a military background and do not understand the ramifications of how policies decided in Washington get carried out by young men and women in uniform.
The White House used the situation for its political purposes, yet never dedicated the security and resources needed to keep our people safe. Now we learn that despite at least a dozen warnings, nothing was done to improve security.
Over the last month, we have witnessed why it is crucial to send people to Washington who can not only solve our economic problems, but also make difficult decisions regarding national security. The American people ultimately hold Congress accountable for our national security policy. If we elect candidates without experience or qualifications, as with my opponent, Joe Kennedy III, we will continue to have a chaotic and haphazard security policy in the Middle East.
It is also the job of the American people to hold Congress accountable for not doing their job. We ultimately cast the decisions about our national security policies by our choice of Senators and U.S. Representatives.
This is why I am running for Congress. We have far too many members of Congress who have never managed a payroll or carried out a military order. The decisions they make in Washington not only affect men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also affect small businesses and large corporations.
Candidate, Massachusetts’ Fourth Congressional District