Leon Panetta

Sustained Attack On Donald Trump From Four Sides: Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Tim Kaine, Barack Obama!

The third night of the Democratic National Convention saw a sustained attack on Donald Trump by the major figures of the Democratic Party, but also of other reputable individuals.

Vice President Joe Biden was his usual rhetorical self, and Independent former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg made clear that not all billionaires are like Donald Trump, who he had to deal with on a regular basis for 12 years.

Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine showed that in many ways he is another Joe Biden, a caring, genuine, nice man who will make us comfortable that he is to be one heartbeat away from the Presidency.

And Barack Obama, as usual, showed his great charisma and speaking style, and made the case against Donald Trump and for Hillary Clinton, and their embrace at the end of the speech was very touching.

Additionally, former CIA head Leon Panetta and Former NSA head Michael Hayden, in speeches at the convention, warned of the recklessness and lack of knowledge of Donald Trump, and over 60 Republican national security personnel and many military figures denounced him in recent days and weeks.

Tonight is Hillary Clinton’s night, her chance to make the case for her election, and the burden on her is great, as there has been much doubt and discord and cynicism about Hillary Clinton, due to the Email Controversy and other issues on her past voting record, and the work of the Clinton Foundation.

Hillary is far from perfect, but she is, as Barack Obama said, the most qualified person ever to be nominated for President, and the future of her Presidency is bright, that it would be a progressive one, more like Barack Obama, than her husband, Bill Clinton!

Imagine A President Trump Confronting Speaker Paul Ryan, The Intelligence Agencies, And The Military Hierarchy!

Imagine just for a minute a President Donald Trump and a Speaker Paul Ryan, and the constant clash they would be engaging in for ultimate control of domestic and economic policy!

Trump has no clue as to how Congress works, and he fails to understand that the Speaker of the House wields great power over anything that goes through the House of Representatives.

So be assured that Paul Ryan would not allow any kind of mass deportation of Muslims, or the building of a Mexico wall, along with many other ideas that Donald Trump has!

And be assured that the intelligence agencies and the military would never follow through on what a President Trump wanted to do in foreign and military policy, and this has already been made clear by people in the intelligence agencies and the military hierarchy! This includes David Petraeus, Michael Hayden, Leon Panetta and John Brennan, and many others!

President Dwight D. Eisenhower discovered that he could not “bark orders” and get things done, as had been true in the military!

Donald Trump would discover that he would be put in a “strait jacket” in both domestic and foreign policy, and the likelihood of an impeachment is likely, since he is a very dangerous man, with his ignorance and shortcomings in both domestic and foreign policy are massive.

The greatest danger would come from the “mob psychology” of the crowds who come to cheer him on, thinking they are at a football game or some such event.

But even scarier is the image of the Nuremberg rallies where Adolf Hitler spewed for this antisemitism and his belligerent war threats, as Trump’s “minions” are totally terrifying.

Trump represents an evil that must be overcome, and this idea of disillusioned voters staying home creates perfect conditions for a Trump victory, and an attempt at a Trump dictatorship, which would turn the American nation upside down and inside out, far worse than the threat of Richard Nixon!

Disloyalty To President Obama By Former Democratic Presidents And Secretary Of Defense Shocking!

President Barack Obama has enough on his plate, and does not need open displays of disloyalty from fellow Democratic Presidents and a former Secretary of Defense!

At a time of midterm elections coming up, these criticisms of Obama by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and former CIA head and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta are totally uncalled for, in a public way!

Leon Panetta is just trying to make money on his book by trashing the man who gave him the top two jobs in national security, but one must also remember that he was once a Republican, and his criticisms of Obama on the Middle East are not going to help the situation, so he can be considered a traitor, as he could have waited until Obama left office before writing his book. In that sense, he is the same as another former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, who is a Republican, and served in the Pentagon under both Obama and George W. Bush.

If these two men felt so strongly, they should have done the right thing and resigned immediately, when they felt they could not support what Obama was doing in the Middle East years ago, but instead, they stay on, and then leave, and write books for profit at an inappropriate time!

And Jimmy Carter, who was not exactly hawkish in foreign policy decades ago, is wrong to criticize Obama, as based on his record in office in the late 1970s and in 1980, he was not very dovish rather than the recent conversion to being a hawk, as he suddenly appears to have become in his old age!

And Bill Clinton? Well, he is trying to help his wife’s predicted campaign for the Presidency, but he tends to talk too much anyway, as he loves the sound of his voice, and loves attention! Clinton made plenty of mistakes as President in foreign policy, and should not, publicly be speaking out at this time, which is so delicate, and only helps the Republican Party.

If the Democrats lose the US Senate next momth, Panetta, Carter, and Clinton should be held responsible for undermining their party at a time they should have kept their mouths shut, or told Obama privately, how they felt!

And notice, how even George W. Bush, has had the decency to keep his mouth shut, and refuse to attack his successor! He has more class than Panetta, Carter or Clinton on this matter!

Disgraceful Action By Republicans Against Former Republican Colleague, Chuck Hagel, Demonstrates Mistake Democrats Made In Refusing To Reform Filibuster!

The Republican Senate minority has reached a new low, in rejecting former colleague, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, for Secretary of Defense, as a measure of spite against Hagel for backing Barack Obama in 2008, criticizing the George W. Bush “surge” in Iraq in 2007, and the exploitation of the Benghazi, Libya tragedy as a means to smack the President directly!

Hagel is perfectly qualified to be Secretary of Defense, and to have utilized the filibuster as a means to deny a vote, is reprehensible beyond description! Even Senator John Tower of Texas, a George H. W. Bush appointment as Secretary of Defense in 1989, while rejected for that position in 1989 over womanizing and liquor abuses, had the dignity of going down in an actual vote, rather than the prevention of such a vote, through the dastardly misuse of the filibuster tactic!

The Democrats and Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada had a opportunity to change the filibuster rules, and had no guts or courage, and this is the disastrous result!

The Democrats need to learn to play hardball, since the Republicans fail to understand anything else! They should be ashamed at their weakness, and the Republicans, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, once again, prove how unprincipled and despicable they are in their “war” on the Obama Administration! They have no common decency, and it is clear that any attempt at bipartisanship over the next two years is out of the question!

So Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who already has had a farewell at the Pentagon, will have to stay on longer, until another attempt at overcoming the filibuster on Hagel is attempted, or Hagel withdraws, and another individual is selected to head the Defense Department.

Best Team For America’s Future Security: John Kerry For Secretary Of State, And Chuck Hagel For Secretary Of Defense

In the midst of the “Fiscal Cliff” battle, President Obama is also deep into Cabinet selection, and it was heartening to hear that former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican who served in Vietnam and became an acknowledged expert on foreign policy in his years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been at the White House, and is a hot candidate for Secretary of Defense.

This author has long raved about the credentials of Hagel, and suggested him for the cabinet in the first term, and it now seems more likely that he might become the head of the Pentagon when Leon Panetta leaves soon.

This would be continuing the tradition of past Democratic Presidents to decide to choose reputable Republicans for the Defense Department, and it even goes back to when it was called the War Department before 1947.

The historical record shows Franklin D. Roosevelt having Henry Stimson, former Secretary of State under Herbert Hoover, as his Secretary of War, along with Frank Knox, who had been the Republican Vice Presidential nominee in 1936, being named Secretary of the Navy, both in 1940, when Great Britain was being attacked by the German Air Force in World War II, and the threat to America was seen as dire by many as a result.

John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson utilized Robert McNamara as Secretary of Defense in the 1960’s.

Bill Clinton had former Maine Senator William Cohen, a responsible and reputable Republican Senator, as his Secretary of Defense in the second term, and he received kudos for his performance.

And Robert Gates, George W. Bush’s second Secretary of Defense, became Barack Obama’s first Secretary of Defense, and did a wonderful job for more than two years.

So the reasoning to pick Hagel is clearly there, but to make the foreign policy-defense team complete, the President also needs to choose Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, a Vietnam War veteran too, and 2004 Democratic Party Presidential nominee, to replace Hillary Clinton at the State Department, after 28 years of service in the US Senate, and chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry has had a distinguished career, and would be an excellent choice, and the team of Kerry and Hagel would be sensational.

In a time of trouble and turmoil, America needs its strongest team on national security, and Kerry and Hagel fit the bill, without any question or doubt.

Susan Rice, the UN Ambassador, is also outstanding in many ways, but quite frankly, is not on the same level as Kerry, and her nomination would cause unnecessary turmoil over the issue of Libya, a sad commentary, but a distraction which should not be allowed to continue by choosing her, when Kerry is really a better choice!

So, Mr. President, pick John Kerry for State and Chuck Hagel for Defense, and America will be very well served at Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon!

Rumors Of Replacements For State Department And Defense Department: John Kerry Or Susan Rice, And Chuck Hagel?

As the second Obama Administration is being organized, there are many rumors about members of the Cabinet leaving.

Among them are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and the suggestions being discussed are very intriguing.

It is thought that Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee, might be angling for the State Department, with his years of experience as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman as his major credential. Also, United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice is a second thought.

If Kerry left the Senate, it would open up his seat, and Republican Senator Scott Brown, who just lost his seat to Elizabeth Warren, would certainly campaign for it, against an unknown Democrat.

And if Rice received the position, she would be the fourth woman to be in that position, and the second black woman, and the third black person—following Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, as well as Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton.

For the Defense Department, if and when Panetta leaves, the rumor is that former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican, and very reputable, would take the position, and that would mark the second Republican Secretary of Defense for Obama, after Robert Gates.

Having both Kerry and Hagel as important cabinet members would be fantastic, and if Rice was selected, she would also be the second black woman in that position with the name of Rice!

Eleven Years Of War In Afghanistan And Counting: For What?

Today marks ELEVEN years of US combat in Afghanistan, with over 2,000 Americans killed, and thousands more wounded, many severely.

George W. Bush messed up the whole involvement from the beginning, and it took nearly a decade to kill Osama Bin Laden, and weaken Al Qaeda dramatically, although they still exist in other nations in the area.

But the Taliban threat remains a power in Afghanistan, and President Hamid Karzai is one of the most corrupt foreign leaders we deal with, and is not even appreciative of American and NATO involvement and sacrifice! Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta expressed the total disgust of our nation with Karzai, and his constant criticisms of America, while he has done nothing to make life better for his people, particularly the women living under a medieval standard of behavior!

Barack Obama is committed to withdrawing in 2014, but the case can be made that if he wins reelection, he should speed up the withdrawal to end a year early, as Afghanistan is a nation that seems hopeless to reform, at the high cost of American lives and treasure.

It is impossible to accept that this is, by far, the longest war in American history, and it is time to declare it over, and bring the men and women home for good!

Defense Cuts Coming: Unavoidable, And Reasonable Long Term

The Pentagon, Secretary of State Leon Panetta, and President Barack Obama have announced plans for the future of our military, which are unavoidable and reasonable long term.

The philosophy behind the defense plans is that present costs for military spending, and trying to have the capability for involvement in two major wars at the same time, is unsustainable in the present economic climate.

Instead, involvement in one major war, with ability to send troops to a second theater of war, with eventual commitment of some troops from the first theater of war over time, is the best that America can do.

Also, the goal is to face the reality that future military personnel cannot have the same expenditures on families, health care costs, salaries, and pensions, as those costs now are beginning to become a financial burden on the American treasury.

Also, the major focus will be on the area of Asia and the Pacific, rather than the Middle East, where so much effort has been concentrated . The thought is that China, North Korea, and Pakistan are the major challenges for the long term future, and should be given the focus of our attention, without forgetting about Iran.

The one way not mentioned to change this reality is to start heavier taxation, particularly of the wealthy, as cutting of entitlements, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is not acceptable in any major fashion. We will have tp pay as we go if we want everything to be what everyone wants, but right now, that is not possible, so we need to concentrate on where it is felt the major challenges are in the future.

We must also face a more restrained use of military force in general, and more modest foreign policy goals, and deal with the internal problems this nation faces.

Conventional forces will be de-emphasized in favor of counter terrorist actions and “irregular” warfare, and greater investment in long range stealth bombers and anti missile systems.

Fighting regional wars, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be no longer a goal of the military, causing long periods of commitment and wearing down the budget costs.

The goal is to cut defense spending by $480 billion over the next decade, but if Congress fights over it, automatic cuts could rise to $1 trillion!

Special Forces troops, elite counter terrorist troops, and armed drones are the future of the military, with a decline in conventional ground forces.

The Army and Marine Corps would decline in numbers, and fewer troops would be stationed in Europe, in order to allow greater deployment into the Asia-Pacific theater.

This plan for the future will lead to a fight in Congress, but what else is new?

Barack Obama And Afghanistan Withdrawal: Promising, But Not Enough!

President Obama gave a 13 minute speech last evening, outlining his strategy in Afghanistan.

Pointing out that Al Qaeda had been weakened with Osama Bin Laden’s death, plus the death of other terrorists by air strikes and drones, Obama announced the withdrawal of 10,000 soldiers by the end of 2011, and another 23,000 by September of 2012.

This would mean the removal of the “surge” troops put in after his speech in December 2009.

This is an important development, but it would leave 68,000 troops in Afghanistan to the target date of sometime in 2014, but Obama did not say that all troops would be removed even then.

The Afghanistan War is costing $10 billion a month at a time when we are in such dire economic straits, and therefore, although he called for a focus on domestic needs and infrastructure and nation building at home, how are we supposed to do this if there is no end to the involvement in Afghanistan?

The military, led by David Petraeus, new head of the CIA; and Mike Mullen, retiring head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Leon Panetta, new head of the Defense Department; and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, wanted a slower approach, as did John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

At the same time, the left is disgusted with the slow pace of the Afghanistan withdrawal, and even some Republicans seem disgusted with the feeling that there is no end to war involvement, and the reality that it is bleeding this nation dry!

So Obama is not pleasing the left or the right, is instead following the advice of Vice President Joe Biden, and is seemingly in the middle on an issue that a majority of Americans feel should not be a priority for the future, particularly with the domestic crises we now face, an imminent threat!

John McCain Vs The Bush Administration And Rick Santorum

Senator John McCain of Arizona, the 2008 GOP Presidential nominee, spent five and a half years in a North Vietnamese prison, and suffered horrible torture.

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and other figures in the Bush Administration NEVER suffered torture, and neither did former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who is one of the group of Republicans seeking the Presidency in 2012.

But the Bush loyalists and Senator Santorum continue to assert that waterboarding, a form of torture, helped to bring about the assassination of Osama Bin Laden two weeks ago, despite clearcut evidence from CIA head Leon Panetta that waterboarding had no role in bringing about the demise of Bin Laden.

Senator McCain had the courage last week to condemn those who think torture is an acceptable and useful method to gain information from detainees. McCain has always been against the breaking of international law which the Bush Administration was engaged in by using waterboarding as a method to try to force information from captives in the War on Terror.

If John McCain, who suffered for this country, and CIA head Leon Panetta, both claim that torture did not work, and undermines our values, that should be enough to stop the propaganda endorsing torture, and it is good that Barack Obama has repudiated such a policy in the future, as it diminished the image of the United States as a nation that exists under law and a sense of morality.