10.06.2014 0

Obama the uninformed


By Rick Manning

America is in crisis.

Vice President Joe Biden laid out the various challenges facing our nation in a speech given at Harvard University citing the U.S. – China relationship, Islamic State thugs, Russia’s aggression against the Ukraine and Ebola.

There are obviously many other crises that the Vice President didn’t mention – a debt to GDP ratio that is at peacetime highs, the collapse of the VA health system, and the flood of illegals that have come into our nation virtually unimpeded over the past year to name three more.

With the world on fire, and our nation in crisis, this headline from the Washington Free Beacon stuck out like the Las Vegas skyline at midnight – “Obama Skipped 62.5 Percent of Intelligence Briefings this Year.”

The Government Accountability Institute updated previous analysis using the official White House calendar and other sources and discovered that President Obama blew off his intelligence briefings at an alarming rate.

This report comes out just following the President’s blaming the intelligence agency’s for underestimating the Islamic State threat.  This is a President who has sat on his hands watching the Ebola virus make the inevitable leap from Africa to the United States.  This is a President who just two years ago mocked his opponent Mitt Romney for the antiquated idea that a rising Russia is a problem.

One of the phenomenal resources available to the President is the ability to surround him/herself with some of the greatest minds on earth to help sift through vast arrays of legitimately collected data and use their training, knowledge and expertise to provide insights that are not available to anyone else.

President Obama chose not to receive those insights on an average of three out of five days.

Obama’s defenders in the past have argued that he read the briefing books so an in person briefing was unnecessary.  This hollow excuse misses one of the great advantages of having the expert(s) in the room – you can ask questions, pick their brains, use their insights to trigger ideas and solutions based upon a broad perspective that reaches outside of what everyone else has.

If the information or analysis is wrong, like President George W. Bush purportedly received prior to his decision to invade Iraq, that is tragic.  What is more tragic is if the information and analysis is available, but the person entrusted by the people of the United States to lead chooses not to avail himself to it.

In August, the Free Beacon reports, when ISIS was on the rise, the President only attended a total of eight briefings.

Every day thousands of men and women spend countless hours culling through the noise analyzing and collecting information to try to keep our nation safe.  Yet, somehow President Obama is apparently disinterested or incapable of listening and learning what they know, the least that President Obama can do is listen to what they have learned.

The author is vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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