Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

Bio

June 6, 2014 - 9:40 am
Page 1 of 2  Next ->   View as Single Page

Former Defense Secretary (and former CIA chief) Leon Panetta has offered his first public comments on the Obama deal in which the US released five top Taliban commanders for one US soldier accused of desertion. Panetta says that he opposed the deal and “assumed that it was never going to happen.”

“I don’t fault the administration for wanting to get him back. I do question whether the conditions are in place to make sure these terrorists don’t go back into battle,” former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a gas industry gathering in Pittsburgh.

Panetta, who was in the Cabinet for four of the five years Bergdahl spent in Taliban custody, said he opposed a swap for the terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when he was Defense secretary.

“I said, ‘Wait, I have an obligation under the law,’” Panetta said during a lunchtime address at the Hart Energy Developing Unconventionals DUG East conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown. “If I send prisoners from Guantanamo, they have to guarantee they don’t go back to the battlefield. I had serious concerns.”

He said talks fell apart because the Taliban “asked for five top guys.” He did not say when during his 2011-13 tenure in the Pentagon that discussions took place.

“I just assumed it was never going to happen,” Panetta said.

So Panetta is on the record. Hillary Clinton is on the record, first giving lukewarm support for the deal, but then saying that she opposed it too. That’s the Pentagon and the State Department, then, opposing the trade during Obama’s first term. We can throw the CIA in as well, since Panetta served atop the CIA from 2009 to 2011 before moving over to the Pentagon. Before Panetta was SecDef, Robert Gates was — and he opposed the deal too. The deal did not happen as long as these officials were in the Obama administration.

Gates, Panetta and Clinton exit the Obama administration during or after the first term. They’re replaced by Chuck Hagel and John Kerry, respectively. Hagel and Kerry share Barack Obama’s leftist worldview and attitude toward the military far more than Panetta does, and apparently even more than Clinton does or is willing to let on.  Panetta’s comments will matter, a lot, as he is widely respected on both sides of the aisle. He tends not to be a partisan gunslinger.

Upon Obama’s election, the new president was reported to be a fan of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Goodwin makes the case in that book that Lincoln drew strength from the strong, independent-minded and often bitter rivals whom he selected to serve in his cabinet. That idea is not original to Goodwin. It has been taught in history classes about the Civil War for decades, because it happens to be true. Lincoln was, among other things, an extraordinary manager of huge personalities. He had something that Obama lacks, which was key to his management skills — wisdom. Wisdom’s foundation is humility. Obama is a foolish narcissist. Obama, the media reported, thought enough of himself that he wanted the same thing in his cabinet, and thought it would be an easy thing to pull off. So, like Lincoln, Obama chose a major rival in the form of Hillary Clinton. He retained Republican Robert Gates to helm the Pentagon, and installed Panetta at the CIA. All of them have deeper resumes than Obama, including Clinton, whose record is much thinner than those of Gates and Panetta. Gates and Panetta are among the most experienced hands in politics by a long way.

But the “team of rivals” didn’t work out as Obama had planned, because independent thinkers actually think independently, and because they know things, they can be difficult to push around. It takes a strong, decisive, insightful, wise person to manage such strong personalities and get the best out of them. Obama, remember, had never even managed a lemonade stand. His idea of top-level diplomacy is handing the queen of England an iPod with recordings of his own boring speeches on it. Where Lincoln was a self-educated, poor country lawyer sharpened over years of studying and opposing slavery, Obama grew up well-to-do in Hawaii where his greatest difficulty was securing that day’s supply of choom. Where Lincoln was wise, humble and shrewd, Obama is a narrow-minded ideologue who is in love with himself.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
"Wisdom’s foundation is humility."

Truth.

Obama is not stupid. People who still think he is stupid, are stupid.

But he IS foolish.

The difference is important.

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
We've heard that six soldiers died in an effort to retrieve Bergdahl.

How many died in the capture of those Five Thugs?

How many would die in any effort to RE-capture those Five Thugs?

Would a time traveler from June 6, 1944 wonder if everybody in the future was crazy?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gates, Panetta and Clinton exit the Obama administration during or after the first term. They’re replaced by Chuck Hagel and John Kerry respectively

I wish this were some sick joke rather than brutal stark reality.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (19)
All Comments   (19)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
I think this was a disastrously stupid idea (as has already been amply demonstrated), but I question the validity of the characterizatiion of these guys as "four-star generals", as if they are going to stroll back into Taliban headquarters and take over senior positions. In fact, they are old men, has-beens, and out of the loop for 10 years. Their positions, if they still exist, have long since been filled, multiple times, by younger upstarts, who will not like the notion of being displaced by oldguys. And the oldguys knowledge of tactics and methods is seriously outdated, like from the stone age.
I've been retired from surgery for 8 years. I doubt anyone would want me to take over their surgery from their newguy! I'll bet this applies to generals, too.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The "wringing of hands" over this is kind of pitiful.

GITMO should have been cleared out years ago. Either try them or return them.

What astounds me about people like Panetta is that he grew up in the Vietnam era, yet he advocates vigorously for an open-ended conflict with no exit strategy.

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Chuck Hagel at Defense, a man who can barely get through a sentence without sounding like he’s lost; John Kerry of “Jenjis Khan” infamy at State; James Clapper the clueless liar as director of National Intelligence; John Brennan — who thinks the Muslim Brotherhood is “mostly secular” — at the CIA; with Susan Rice aka Miss Benghazi as his national security adviser. And Valerie Jarrett pulling strings from stage left."

You forgot one dolt who has been there all along... Our Beloved Vice President, Joe Biden.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Little Bread, an idea short and a year too late.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
What, then, is the big deal about emptying Gitmo?
He's been reelected, already.
The human rights crusaders have already forgotten the place.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I do question whether the conditions are in place to make sure these terrorists don’t go back into battle,” Panetta told a gas industry gathering in Pittsburgh.

Bet the farm those conditions are not in place. This administration is too corrupt, too inept & too contemptuous of America for anything close to that to happen.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Wisdom’s foundation is humility."

Truth.

Obama is not stupid. People who still think he is stupid, are stupid.

But he IS foolish.

The difference is important.

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
a collection of dolts and ideologues

Susan Rice is the queen of glib, there's a lot of that in his crew and the entire so-called "Democratic party", certainly includes Lurch and look at Ms. Pelosi - and the entire cast of inmates at MSNBC.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
How much, I wonder, did Panetta charge for the speech?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. I'm-Smarter-Than-Any-Of-My-Advisors will go down in history as one of the worst leaders of the free world ever. In the meantime, we bear the brunt of his hubris, ineptitude and downright disgusting conceit. I can think of no redeeming quality in his policies whatsoever.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry to sound very cynical, but as much as I really want Obama to actually be viewed as among the worst leaders of the free world of all time, academia/historians' deifying FDR makes this highly unlikely. If history actually meant anything and if people actually looked at history objectively, they would have called out on FDR's policies a long time ago, especially when it worsened the depression instead of actually ending it. For that matter, school would rightly condemn the French Revolution instead of praising it and claiming it was similar to the French Revolution.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nor in the man.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
‘Wait, I have an obligation under the law,’” Panetta said"

The Obama knows not such obligations...
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All

2 Trackbacks to “Former Defense Secretary Reveals Disturbing Truth Behind the Bergdahl Deal”