10/9/14

Leon Panetta clearly had a distinguished record of public service, first as a member of Congress for 12 years, moving on to serve in the Clinton administration in various positions, and culminating in the most powerful job of Chief of Staff to president Clinton.

He then came back under Obama as director of CIA and secretary of defense. Very impressive.

His memoir, Worthy Fights, is being published now and the preliminary excerpts from it and his interviews to promote the book have been received mostly with wide acclaim.

A courageous man, a good public servant, highly respected, and other words of praise greet him and his memoirs, where he is highly critical of the president’s leadership skills, or lack thereof, of Obama’s tendency to put too much weight on political consideration in matters of national security and on specifics such as Obama’s failure to leave troops behind in Iraq in 2011 and his failure to arm the Syrian rebels in 2012, etc.

Even the Obama administration is suffering this withering criticism in relative quiet. The only muted counter-criticism to Panetta was by the administration court’s jester (VP Biden) who suggested that all the people who publish memoirs should wait until the president is out of office before they criticize him.

In response to that, Panetta explained that he did not wait for the president to end his term because:

  • “History does not stop.” What does that mean?
  • The public has a right to know.
  • He hopes that the president still has time to change and thus needs to be made aware of his mistakes.

Panetta went on to say as justification for the publication now that he is worried about the future of the USA and that he hopes the president will change course. These are serious issues and the USA is paying a heavy price for the president’s lack of leadership and mistakes, according to Panetta.

So, I have only one question for the esteemed secretary Panetta: If this is the case, if the president is making serious mistakes that are hurting the national security, if the public has a right to know, Why did you wait three years to say it out loud?

The culture of administration officials appearing before the public and Congress while they serve and defend the decisions of the president that they think are serious mistakes, go on serving him until they retire and then publish their memoirs disclosing to great public aplomb how mistaken the president was/is, is simply corrupt. If the mistakes are serious enough, they should tell the president that he is making a serious mistake, they should resign if he refuses to accept their view, and they should open it up to the “public’s right to know” right there and then. If Panetta would have resigned in 2011, or maybe 2012, and using his “the public has a right to know” moto raise these issues in public, we may not have ISIS and its implications now. Heck, we may not have president Obama now if Panetta was honest with the public when it mattered.

The only reason for all these officials to continue to serve a president who they think is making serious mistakes on national security or other matters is to further their selfish interests. For some, like Hillary Clinton, these are political ambitions. For others, like Panetta and Robert Gates, these are simply financial considerations. They are doing it exactly so that they can later publish their memoirs and earn lots of money. They always time it so as to publish these books before an election when the interest level, thus exposure and sales, will be highest then.

Readers of these annals know that I am the fiercest critic of the president and agree with everything that Panetta says and more, but the fact that he waited to discuss it so that he can enrich himself as opposed to when it was happening and he could still effect the debate, is clearly corrupt, indeed contemptuous, and unworthy. I could even suggest that it is tantamount to treason.

The fact that NOT one person in the media has raised this point, including anchors, pundits, talk show hosts, NO ONE, is staggering to me and shows how corrupt this whole system is.

I am not a fan of president Obama but I never ascribed to him motives other than what he truly believes (wrongly) that is best for this country and never suggested or thought that he is doing anything for his self-enrichment. In this respect, he is 100 times better than Panetta and his ilk. Leon Panetta is an unworthy man and his legacy will be one of shame and self-interest over national security and the interests of the USA.