OCTOBER 22, 2012
A U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were murdered by Islamic terrorists in Libya because the State Department skimped on security yet the agency has enough cash to blow millions in one year on “pressing cultural preservation needs” in foreign countries.
News of the controversial allocation could not come at a worse time, on the heels of the brutal assassination of an American ambassador and his staff by al-Qaeda terrorists in Benghazi. It marked the first time in three and a half decades that a foreign ambassador got murdered abroad while representing the U.S. government.
The State Department deploys foreign diplomats and is responsible for their safety. In Libya the agency cut corners by hiring an unknown and inexperienced British firm rather than the larger, more reputable companies that are customarily used in overseas danger zones infested with hostile, anti-American Islamists. As a result, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on the mission are dead.
While the State Department saved money on security in Libya, it somehow managed to find $5.6 million in 2011 to support “pressing cultural preservation needs” in dozens of foreign countries. Here are some of the dire projects funded by U.S. tax dollars that perhaps could be better spent on securing U.S. embassies in hostile Arab countries.
Uncle Sam doled out $750,000 to restore a 16th-century tomb complex in India, $700,000 to conserve ruins in Tanzania, $600,000 for the “temple of the winged lions” in Jordan and $450,000 for the conservation of a 10th century temple in Cambodia. Those were just the big ticket projects. Hundreds of thousands more went to smaller causes throughout the world.
For instance, the restoration of a 16th century convent in Guatemala got $119,052 and an aqueduct in Mexico received $115,000 and the following three projects each got $100,000 from the State Department; a program to document endangered musical traditions in Mali, the restoration of a railroad station in Paraguay and a 19th-century log house museum in Russia. Here is the list of all the allocations for 2011.
This is all part of the administration’s international diplomacy efforts, a cornerstone of the Obama presidency. Just last month the State Department launched a first-of-its-kind Diplomatic Culinary Partnership to “elevate the role of culinary engagement in America’s formal and public diplomacy efforts.” A new American Chef Corps has been created because Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claims that “culinary engagement” can “further intercultural dialogue and strengthen bilateral relationship.”
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