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Bolton: Obama's Policy on Iran Like Sleepwalking Past the Grave

Bolton: President Obama is unwilling or unable to size-up the threat of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 3/7/2012, 5:11 PM

Ambassador John Bolton at Gush Katif dinner
Ambassador John Bolton at Gush Katif dinner
Gush Katif Museum

In an interview with Fox news on Tuesday Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton responded to President Obama’s news conference that day, comparing the administration’s policies on Iran to “sleepwalking past the grave.”

During the news conference, the President responded to harsh criticism that has been emanating from members of the Republican party and other Israel supporters who claim that Obama’s policies on Iran are ineffective in curtailing the regime’s nuclear ambitions and that the President is not doing enough to ensure the safety and security of the State of Israel.

The President claimed that those making the accusations “don’t have a lot of responsibilities” and that they speak about going to war in a casual manner and are not fully aware of the dire implications and consequences that will, undoubtedly, result.

Responding to Obama’s remarks, Bolton stated that the President’s statement “was a conscious falsehood.”

“None of the Republican candidates have been casually talking about war with Iran,” Bolton said. “They have been strongly critiquing the President’s failure over the past three years to do anything to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.” 

He asserted that, “If there is anybody who is ‘casual’ is this discussion, over the past few days, it’s the President’s apparent unwillingness or inability to size-up the threat of a nuclear-weapons-capable Iran.”

“The comparison is not between the world, as it is today, and the world after a possibly Israeli strike. The comparison is the world where Iran – the leading thunder of terrorism around the world- has nuclear weapons, versus what the world would look like after an Israeli strike. And he just doesn’t want to talk about that,” Bolton explained.

“We don’t play politics with going to war. We take a careful, thoughtful, sober approach,” President Obama said on Super Tuesday as he lashed out against his Republican adversaries.

Yet, Bolton went on to claim that the President’s assertion was a false “misrepresentation of the national debate that we’re trying to have.”

“Nobody who believes, as I do, that we do need to use military force to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons takes it lightly, at all. The people who take it most seriously, right now, are the people of Israel who face the prospect of a nuclear Holocaust if Iran gets nuclear weapons,” Bolton stated.

He noted that there was something “very telling in the President’s press conference what he said that he understood Israel’s sensitivities because of the ‘historical precedent.’”

While Obama referred to the “historical precedent,” he refrained from directly mentioning the Holocaust or the "six million dead Jews."

This conscious omission illustrates “the blind spot in the President’s thinking and his inability or unwillingness to really understand what a nuclear Iran means,” Bolton stated.

Obama maintains that the sanctions are starting to have a significant effect on Iran and are now intended to cripple the country’s oil industry and central bank. The President also referenced “noises” regarding Iran returning to the negotiating table.  

“It is deeply in everybody’s interests- the United States, Israel and the world’s- to see if this can be resolved in a peaceful fashion,” the President said.

“So, this notion that somehow we have a choice to make in the coming week, two weeks, month or two months is not born out by the facts,” Obama continued. 

Yet, Bolton stated that even CIA Director James Clapper, in testimony before a Senate intelligence committee in February 2012 said, "The sanctions as imposed so far have not caused [Iran] to change their behavior or their policy."

“The fact is, Iran is very close to achieving nuclear weapons… and the prospect of returning to the negotiation table gives Iran the opportunity, which it has utilized to great advantage before, to drag out negotiations to give it the extra time and political cover to cross the nuclear finish line,” Bolton affirmed.

Solemnly he said that this is a “sleepwalking past the grave kind of policy that is going to lead to Iran getting nuclear weapons.”