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EDITORIAL: The new green zone

Obama administration misplaces America’s priorities

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It appears increasingly likely the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, could have been prevented. Whistleblowers have been providing evidence to congressional investigators suggesting administration officials overlooked ominous warning signs, including violent attacks on diplomatic personnel in the region.

Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are determined to get to the bottom of the matter and have scheduled an Oct. 10 hearing. The panel's chairman, California Rep. Darrell Issa, joined Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz in writing Tuesday to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanding answers. Her staff certainly has been busy.

As the National Legal and Policy Center pointed out, diplomatic missions overseas care more about creating "green zones" that refer not to safe havens in hostile territory, but areas where carbon footprints are reduced. Forget ammunition and armored vehicles. Forget about the war on terror. Foggy Bottom was engaged in an all-out war on incandescent light bulbs and internal combustion.

State bureaucrats even set up a "League of Green Embassies" website to tout the Baghdad Embassy's use of electric golf carts and expensive new light switches needed for the politically correct light bulbs in Jordan. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo listed itself as a member of the group, and our embassy in Finland blew $47,500 in taxpayer cash on picking up a new Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid -- even though the car is just a $17,000 Chevy Cruze laden with pricey batteries.

A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit calculated the federal government since 2009 has pumped $1.3 billion into the factories that make these batteries. That's good news for Hollywood stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney and Matt Damon. An alphabet soup of six agencies cooked up 39 programs cutting the six-figure sticker price of rides like the Fisker Karma and Tesla that are favored by left-leaning plutocrats.

Despite the billions in indirect subsidy and $7,500 in direct cash to buyers, only about 17,000 all-electric cars were sold last year -- far short of the government's rosy predictions. It turns out, Uncle Sam has been making a lot of lousy decisions lately. A separate GAO audit released Monday found the administration spread $2.6 billion to scores of solar-panel manufacturers like Solyndra and Abound Solar, both of which went bankrupt.

The White House is charging forward, despite the high-profile failures of the early loans. In August, Mr. Obama announced he would blow millions more on seven new windmill and solar panel projects under his "we can't wait" strategy.

The job of a president is certainly not to micromanage every step his administration takes. Rather, he sets the agenda, ensuring his appointees know what he expects them to do. With the national debt standing at $16.1 trillion and America's sovereign territory under siege, we now know Mr. Obama's priority. Solvency and safety can wait, but electric cars and curlicue light bulbs can't.

The Washington Times

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