Obama not present during Senate hearings on Somalia, piracy

Joe Biden once predicted that the world would rush to test an inexperienced President, but in truth Barack Obama was even less experienced than we knew.  In this past crisis, for instance, Obama should have been working from a substantial base of knowledge, as both he an Joe Biden served on the Senate Foreign Affairs subcommittee on African affairs.  HA reader Morgen, who posts occasionally at Verum Serum, discovered that when the subcommittee met to discuss the issue of Somalia and piracy over the last three years, both the President and VP were no-shows.

  • July 11, 2006 – Somalia: U.S. Government Policy and Challenges
  • July 17, 2007 – Democratic Developments in Sub-Saharan Africa – Moving Forwards or Backwards
  • August 1, 2007 – Exploring the U.S. Africa Command and a New Strategic Relationship with Africa
  • September 27, 2007 – The United Nation’s Convention on the Law of the Sea
  • March 11, 2008 – Evaluating U.S. Policy Options on the Horn of Africa

Biden missed another in 2002.  Seems like neither man took a particular interest in Somalia, piracy, or Horn of Africa issues when assigned to this committee.

John Kerry demanded hearings when the crisis erupted:

These acts of piracy off of Somalia’s coastline may seem surreal, but they’re all too real and a thorough policy debate is long overdue.  When Americans, including at least one from Massachusetts, are endangered, you’ve got a complicated and dangerous international situation brewing, and that includes questions about a hot pursuit policy on Somalia’s coastline. There have been more than 50 attacks in the area this year alone and the problem isn’t going away. I plan to hold hearings to further examine the growing threat of piracy and all the policy options that need to be on the table before the next fire drill becomes an international incident with big implications.

Maybe he could have attended even one of the meetings listed above before the crisis erupted in order to prevent it from happening in the first place.  Kerry also missed every one of these hearings, and unlike Biden and Obama, wasn’t running for President in 2007-8.  Exactly what does Kerry do for a living, anyway?