Obama Adviser: We Agree with Bush Belief of Getting Terrorists Before They Get Us

‘We’re not falling into the al Qaeda trap of sending tens of thousands of Americans in’

Obama Adviser: We Agree With Bush Belief Of Getting The Terrorists Before They Get Us (RealClearPolitics)

CANDY CROWLEY: And does it -- moving to the region now and what's going on there, airstrikes now along the Turkish/Syrian border, it does seem that, very often, when any kind of Western power, particularly in the Middle East, takes on some kind of military operation, that it creates enemies, as well as destroys other enemies.

And isn't that what -- what those bulletins are about, is, are we making things more dangerous on the streets by doing this or safer? 

TONY BLINKEN: Candy, we have to get ahead of this problem. 

ISIL presents an immediate threat to people in the region, including to Americans in the region. And it's been very clear that, over time, if it's left unchecked, it will present a threat here at home and to our partners in Europe. So we need to get ahead of it. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. 

But keep in mind, we're doing this in a very different way than in the past. We're not sending in hundreds of thousands of American troops. We're not spending trillions of American dollars. What we are doing is empowering local actors with some of the huge assets we can bring to this, like our airpower, intelligence, training and equipping, advising and assisting.

And we're not falling into the al Qaeda trap of sending tens of thousands of Americans in, where they get bogged down, tied down, and bled, which is exactly what al Qaeda wants. We're being smart about this. This is a sustainable way to get at the terrorists. And it's also a more effective way. 

CROWLEY: But are you at the same time buying into what was the Bush belief that you -- President Bush belief that we go get them before they come get us?

BLINKEN: Yes, but look at who is doing it. We took action in Syria this week with five Arab nations flying with us. We have a coalition now of more than 50 countries from all around the world, including in the region. This is not America against ISIL. This is the international community against a threat that is posed in the first and foremost to countries in the region, but represents a threat to everyone.

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