The Leon Panetta Is Trying Too Hard Watch
Posted by Michael Cohen
At times, I feel a little sorry for Leon Panetta. He just so badly wants everyone to like him! It's so obviously important to Leon that everyone thinks he's tough enough and salty enough to be a Democratic running the American armed forces, well bless his little heart, sometimes he just goes a little overboard.
- There was the time he claimed that Obama was sending troops to Uganda to fight al Qaeda affiliated terrorists
- Or when he said the US was in Iraq because of 9/11 . . .
- . . . at the same time he contradicted the President by saying the US would keep 70,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014
- That was a doozy
- And remember that time he said that cuts to the defense budget would "invite aggression"
- Or when he suggested that returning the DoD to 2007 budget levels would be "catastrophic," "draconian" "doomsday"-inducing and akin to America "shooting itself in the head."
- Oh and then there was two times that he intimated that India might be a threat to the United States
- Boy, DoD really had to backtrack from that one
- Of course my favorite Panetta-ism was when he said that no Democratic President could ever afford to go against military advice
- And keep in mind the guy has only had the job since the summer!
But just in case you were concerned that Leon Panetta would stop putting his foot in his mouth or saying deeply inappropriate and wrong things about US national security . . . you can stop your worrying.
You see this week, Panetta kept it up at a rapid pace. First he said that because Iraq was now stable (HA!) and "stabilizing factor" in the region (HA!) the US effort there had been "worth it." You see in Panetta-land whenever there is an opportunity to pander to the troops - there is always room to pander more.
Then this week he said this about Iran's nuclear program:
“It would be sometime around a year that they would be able to do it,” he said. “Perhaps a little less.”
Turns out that's not actually true. In fact the recent IAEA report on the subject of Iranian nukes said that Iran has suspended its nuclear program. In what has become a regular occurrence for the DoD press office, Pentagon spokesman George Little was forced to walk back the Sec Def's comments
Panetta also said that Iran's ability to become a nuclear-weapons state could be accelerated if there was “a hidden facility somewhere in Iran that may be enriching fuel” and that an Iranian bomb would be unacceptable and a red line for the United States. Because when there is a chance for Leon Panetta to try to sound as tough as possible - there is always room to sound tougher.