Here we are a few years down the road from the events of September 11, 2011, in which four Americans including U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, were killed at Benghazi in a terrorist attack. Mr. Panetta now says he disagreed with the Intelligence assessment of that situation put forth by his replacement at the CIA, Army General David H. Petraus. If Panetta objected to the analysis, it certainly did not make the media nor did he make any real effort to make his position known. You see, it is easy to be forthright and outspoken when you are writing a memoir about events that already took place. Thanks a lot, Leon!
By all accounts Mr. Panetta is a nice guy and apparently a popular one to have around, as he has been appointed to and held positions at various levels in Washington since the days of Richard Nixon. Panetta has worked both sides of the aisle, so to speak, starting his political service as an assistant to California Republican Senator, Thomas Kuchel, while Kuchel served as the Senate Minority Whip in 1966. In 1969, President Richard Nixon appointed him as the Director of the Office of Civil Rights, a part of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare at the time. After getting pressured to leave that job, Panetta went to New York to serve as executive assistant to New York City Mayor John Lindsay, who was also a Republican at the time.
Feeling the Republican party was moving away from the politica center and more to the right, Panetta switched his political affiliations in 1971. Apparently, Panetta is more comfortable in a centrist environment where principles and positions do not require any defense since everyone is rather neutral. That switch has become glaringly ironic given that Panetta has not yet seen fit to leave the Democrat Party, although it has slid so far to the left that it is in danger of tumbling off the earth. This tells me that the shift which Panetta made in 1971 had much more to do with his downstream political plans than it did with his principles as a centrist.
In truth, in Washington, D.C. circles, Leon Panetta has the reputation of being a good lap dog or water boy. Do you need someone to take a lousy job and do some good dirty work while remaining loyal, true, and keeping his mouth shut?Leon’s your man. Afterward, you can fire him and send him back outside. He’ll stay there awaiting the next call to service. But, let’s give credit where credit is due and just say that Mr. Panetta has managed to spend a great number of his 76 years in public service, attached to a variety of political figures.
Of late, Mr. Panetta has been on the media circuit hawking his new book. From my perspective, I really do not believe his heart is in it, but his publisher expects him to do the promo and stir the pot on the controversial aspects of the book—if there are any! If you watched Panetta’s interview with Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, it is apparent that he took pains not to come off as “criticizing” anyone—especially Obama—in his book. Rather, he positioned himself as the mild elder statesman issuing cautions while there is still time to do the “right thing.” Panetta is not willing to admit that Obama continually refuses the input of his staff and advisors and, if he leads at all, does so in the wrong direction. Instead, Panetta paints Obama as a very intelligent and capable man who is “slow to make a decision .” Doesn’t Panetta realize that Obama has his decision made long before anyone else advances their argument? That Obama has an agenda and it is as plain as the nose on Leon Panetta’s face ? I suspect Mr. Panetta does know that, and he was less than forthcoming in his book about it, leading me to wonder why he bothered to write it at all.
In Worthy Fights, Panetta speaks of the raid on Bin Laden and how the Obama White House social calendar played against the timeline of the raid. He confirms that President Obama was absent on the evening of the Benghazi attack but does not relinquish any details concerning where the President was, what his priorities were, or who was in charge as Benghazi went up in flames.
Panetta continued to serve the Obama Administration for a year and a half after Benghazi before he resigned in February of 2013. If Panetta disagreed with the administration from the outset on Benghazi, he tucked it away and continued in his role as a presidential lap dog until things simply became landmarks in history.
As Hillary Clinton notoriously said, “What difference does it make now?” That’s right—what difference does it make now, Mr. Panetta?Your title Worthy Fights suggests you will offer us true examples of when you stood fast on principle and defended your stand to the end. Instead, this book suggests that you hold “lofty principles” and a willlngness to go to battle for the American people. I would suggest, however, that all that comes out of your book will be the money that goes into your pockets and those of your publisher. No doubt your position as a “centrist” will be confirmed as at first you implicate and then apologize along the way. It’s like me saying, “I just read something that almost pissed me off but then I decided I was over-reacting.”
I won’t be wasting my funds on the price of Mr. Panetta’s book. I expect it will end up in the bargain bin alongside the latest offering of Ms. Clinton, who opted for a book tour to test the waters for her presidential bid in 2016. As long as Mr. Panetta is of the opinion that Barack Obama is a highly intellectual person with tremendous potential, I couldn’t care less what he thinks or believes. That reasoning is also as plain as the nose on Panetta’s face.
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