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Bolton: Obama Misses the Big Picture


John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, tells National Review Online that President Obama’s remarks on recent American intelligence and security failures this afternoon “miss the big picture” and “ignore the problems we face in dealing with al-Qaeda.”

“I didn’t hear any hint of the president planning to deal with al-Qaeda’s growing capabilities,” says Bolton. “Now, maybe that’s still to come, but, for now, it seems like the president still thinks this is about one person and the intelligence agencies. He outlined a message of government management when he should have addressed the importance of destroying al-Qaeda’s base camps and eradicating its networks.”

Obama, Bolton adds, “needs to remember that classic formulation: the best defense is a good offense.” 

“If we’re simply relying on the intelligence agencies to keep people off a plane, then we’ll have many more examples of near misses or, God forbid, a tragedy, in coming years,” says Bolton. “Pushing for a shift in the intelligence bureaucracy won’t stop al-Qaeda. I don’t think the president realizes the implications of what he’s doing with this kind of law-enforcement response.” 

“The tone of the remarks is not what’s important,” says Bolton. “We’re not judging some rhetoric exercise. The metric of government is effective action and what he’s proposing addresses issues at the molecular level, not the molar level.”