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Leon Panetta: First Horseman of the Hillary-Pocalypse

In response to Are You Ready For Hillary-Krieg? :

I’d say good ol’ Leon Panetta is riding in the vanguard of that Hillary-krieg, doing the important work of setting up an implicit contrast between Madame Secretary and the semi-retired amateur currently keeping the Oval Office warm for her.  Panetta’s got a book to flog, and USA Today, that Happy Hunting Grounds of the bullet point, offers a few highlights:

• By not pushing the Iraqi government harder to allow a residual U.S. force to remain when troops withdrew in 2011, a deal he says could have been negotiated with more effort. That “created a vacuum in terms of the ability of that country to better protect itself, and it’s out of that vacuum that ISIS began to breed.” Islamic State also is known as ISIS and ISIL.

• By rejecting the advice of top aides — including Panetta and then-secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — to begin arming Syrian rebels in 2012. If the U.S. had done so, “I do think we would be in a better position to kind of know whether or not there is some moderate element in the rebel forces that are confronting (Syrian President Bashar) Assad.”

• By warning Assad not to use chemical weapons against his own people, then failing to act when that “red line” was crossed in 2013. Before ordering airstrikes, Obama said he wanted to seek congressional authorization, which predictably didn’t happen.

The reversal cost the United States credibility then and is complicating efforts to enlist international allies now to join a coalition against the Islamic State, Panetta says. “There’s a little question mark to, is the United States going to stick this out? Is the United States going to be there when we need them?”

Showing leadership in the fight against ISIS is an opportunity “to repair the damage,” he says. He says it’s also a chance for Obama to get a fresh start after having “lost his way.”

Yes, I’m sure it’s a “chance” for Obama to “find his way” and display the kind of leadership he hasn’t evinced in six long years that Panetta has in mind.  “Panetta’s behind-the-scenes account of events during Obama’s first time, including the internal debate over helping Syrian rebels, is consistent with those in memoirs published this year by Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates, whom Panetta succeeded as Defense secretary,” USA Today points out.  What a coincidence that Panetta’s book would like up with Hillary’s!

Not to dismiss Panetta’s insights as pulled-from-thin-air political spin; agree with him or not, he’s a serious guy, especially when compared with the combination of hucksters, ideologues, and dolts that’s been running the show since 2009.  Speaking of which, guess who doesn’t care for Panetta’s book?  I’ll give you a hint: it’s the guy who just said China is part of North America, and caused a major international incident with members of Obama’s anti-ISIS coalition by flapping his gums.

The book was the target of a veiled rebuke Thursday by Biden. “I’m finding that former administration officials, as soon as they leave write books, which I think is inappropriate,” Biden told students at Harvard. “At least give the guy a chance to get out of office.”

The vice president disputed whether it would have made a difference if U.S. aid had been given earlier to Syrian rebels, and State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki denied that a deal to allow a residual force in Iraq could have been reached in the face of resistance by then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

They’re still pushing the hoary status-of-forces lie, and hoping everyone forgets how Obama walked away from the negotiations because he didn’t think Iraq had anything worse to worry about than a bit of light hazing from the Al-Qaeda Junior Varsity squad?  Distancing herself from this non-stop train wreck won’t be difficult for Hillary and her supporters.

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