Skip to comments.Panetta visits USS Stennis ahead of early deployment ["to deter Israel" WTF?]
Posted on 08/23/2012 7:31:28 AM PDT by matt1234
The Bremerton-based aircraft carrier, the USS John C. Stennis, will deploy four months early to the Persian Gulf.
To thank sailors for their service, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited U.S. Naval Base Kitsap at Bremerton Wednesday.
Speaking to the more than 2,000 men and women of the Stennis strike group, Panetta said U.S. military needs them.
"I understand that its tough, we're asking an awful lot of each of you. But frankly, you are the best I have and when the world calls we have to respond," he told them.
Panetta will spend the rest of the day on base, meeting with the sailors and their families.
The deployment comes as tensions rise between Iran and Israel. Many consider it a strategic move to position the Stennis strike group in the Middle East to deter Israel from striking a nuclear-capable Iran.
According to retired U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey, it's a way of telling the Israelis there is no need to attack.
The Stennis will be deployed for eight months, twice as long as originally planned.
The Stennis strike group returned to Bremerton in March after a seven-month deployment to the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea.
Transcript: Media Availability with Secretary Panetta Aboard the USS John C. Stennis, Bremerton, Wash.
STAFF: Afternoon, sir. How are you?
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LEON E. PANETTA: Thank you very much. Good to be here. Spent some time at Fort Lewis a long time ago when I was in ROTC at Santa Clara. So ever since then I've spent a lot of time up here in Seattle.
From a defense point of view this is really a -- a community that is one of the -- one of the -- the very best in terms of supporting the military mission. There are a lot of different missions that are supported here, and I have tremendous thanks and respect for the people of Washington and the way they support our military mission.
So I'm glad to be here and happy to answer your questions.
Q: (Inaudible) -- shifted Navy or other assets to the Mediterranean or Syria region at this time?
SEC. PANETTA: Not at this time. We've -- we have deployed a force to the Middle East, and obviously the Stennis will -- will join that force. And the focus of that is to be prepared to deal with any contingency that develops in the Middle East.
Q: How much of this has to do with the conflict between Israel and Iran? Is this a positioning effort?
SEC. PANETTA: It deals with a lot of threats in the Middle East right now. Obviously Iran is one of those threats that we have to -- we have to be able to focus on and make sure that we're prepared to deal with any threats that could emerge out of Iran.
Secondly, it is the turmoil in Syria, and we're obviously following that closely as well.
There also are tanker threats that come from Iran that threaten some of the tanker -- the oil traffic that goes through the straits, and that's another concern.
So there are a number of issues in that region. It is -- you know, we're gone through the Arab spring there. The results of that present both challenges and opportunities. And all of that is the reason we maintain the force that we have in the Middle East.
Q: (inaudible) -- two-carrier requirement that was going to end in September and now is definite or is there a new end date?
SEC. PANETTA: You know, we're looking at what we need in order to deal with the potential challenges that we face in the Middle East. I can't give you a time frame as to how long we'll have to maintain that -- that presence. But clearly maintaining two carriers in that region was important to us in order to have the ability to confront any contingency.
Q: Do you have any more details about the kind of assistance the military can provide to Jordan or Turkey in the case of Syrian refugees?
SEC. PANETTA: You know, dealing with Syria, obviously we've tried to focus on three areas of importance. One is to do what we can to assist on the humanitarian effort, and I think the president pointed out we've done about $81 million, $82 million.
But we're also working with Jordan and with Turkey to try to deal with the refugee flows and try to help them as best we can.
Secondly is the -- the whole threat of chemical and biological weapons. There are sites in Syria. We're concerned about the security of those sites. So we're continuing to monitor those sites and work with both Turkey, as well as Jordan and Israel to ensure that -- that none of those weapons fall into the wrong hands.
STAFF: Couple more here, guys.
SEC. PANETTA: And let me just mention, the third one is the -- is obviously working with the opposition to try to give them what assistance we can. Basically we're providing nonlethal assistance at this time, but we're working with other countries to try to give them what support they can get in order to try to confront the Syrian army.
Q: Is there any possibility for a no-fly zone in the region at this point?
SEC. PANETTA: Well, you know, we've developed contingency plans for all kinds of possibilities there. But as I -- as I said, that's not on the front burner right now.
Q: Sir, is the U.S. any closer to declaring whether or not the Haqqani Network is a terrorist organization?
SEC. PANETTA: That's -- that's a decision that the State Department has to make with regards to making a recommendation on that. And I think it's probably best one that is addressed to them.
Q: Mr. Secretary, you testified that you're having -- you've called for investigations into the system-wide review of PTSD diagnoses. Is that close to being completed, or when might we see results from that?
SEC. PANETTA: Well, obviously, it -- you know, the concern sprang out of a situation here at McChord that told us that there was some misdiagnoses that had taken place.
Actually as a result of that I've asked all of the services to review all of their diagnosis to see just exactly whether the same thing has occurred elsewhere, and that's -- that's ongoing right now.
Also, there is an ongoing investigation here as to what took place at McChord, making sure that -- that we do everything possible to find out what happened and try to make sure we're taking steps to avoid that happening in the future.
I sent, obviously, high level individuals from the Pentagon who have visited here to try to look at the situation. We've made some changes. I'm awaiting further recommendations as to what we can do to do everything possible to make sure that that kind of misdiagnosis doesn't take place.
STAFF: Last one. Anyone?
Q: (Inaudible) -- for this region. (Inaudible) -- Pacific Rim.
SEC. PANETTA: I would assume that Bremerton's going to stay busy for a long time to come as a result of having to focus and project our force into the Pacific. That's -- that's going to -- we're going to need the kind of shipyards and maintenance and backup that Bremerton provides.
STAFF: Thank you all very much.
SEC. PANETTA: Okay.
Prepared by Dept. of Defense.
Israel should have taken Iran out a long, long time ago, whether the people in the WH liked it or not!
Yet American Jews will continue to blindly support Obama.
So, with all the hoopla about how Obama’s been a supporter of Israel, it looks now as if we’re going to defend a nuclear Iran against Israeli attacks until the Iranians are ready to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, annihilating every man, woman, and child living there.
Once again, Obama lied.
Just helping usher in the “United States of Islam” in the Middle East.
Damn, I hate these b*stards.
Many??? Who the fsck are "Many"???
The only time Panetta mentions Israel is in the context of working WITH the Israelis to prevent bad guys proliferating WMD.
Barry McCaffrey is just talking out his ass, and one retired hack does not constitute "Many".
The only "many" I see is the legion of demons infesting the author's "mind".
Don't let the leftist press bamboozle you.
Imagine a flight of Israeli planes being shot down by surface-to-airplane missiles to defend the Iranian reactor.
Oh, gee! Where'd they come from? /s
A CVA going on station in the Persian Gulf a little earlier sends a message to Israel that there is no need to attack? Exactly how has Israel's national security interests been changed? Is the Iranian threat any less than before? Unless the CVA is there to join Israel in an attack, nothing has really changed. Sounds like an Obama political ploy to show how tough he is during the election campaign.
Israel has been closely watching and listening as Iran has exposed the reality that Arabs and Iranians are more than willing to incinerate millions of Mooselimbs in order to try and annihilate Israel. No, that first millions of mooselimbs will not be incinerated by Israeli bombs but by Iranian bombs. That the mooselimbs around and in Israel choose to magically ignore such a reality is probably why Israel will have to bomb Iran back into the stoneage they prefer, and then weed the Middle East of Hamas and Hesbollah. Sadly, there is nothing which can remove the blindness demonically positioned over mooselimb mentality, but to expect Israel to sit mutely while Iran incinerates millions of other mooselimbs trying to incinerate Israel is suicidal idiocy, especially when we see that the Arabs are more than willing to ‘sacrifice’ millions of fellow Arabs and mooselimbs to serve their demon god al’alah.
Our mooselimb ass-kissing and bowing resident would not allow fly overs of Iraq nor would he assist in any way. Now, as his poll numbers show he is about to be voted into the history books as the worst leader America has ever endured, he is workign to bring about the conflagration he needs to stay in power, with oil shut down through the Straits of Hormus and war raging around Israel. The US resident is a demon’s pawn ...
Stennis battle group can’t stop a half dozen Jericho III’s at an angled launch.
It’s all irrelevant anyhow.
If Israel wants it that way, the next thing you’ll see is a swarm of nuclear popeyes rising from the sea inside any “protection ring”, with a flight time of minutes.
And Iran will be gone like a bad smell.
My thought exactly. All these posters and you are the only one to point out the obvious. Well done.
I was on Saint Maarten when Johnny Reb’s was visiting on its first deployment. I had just read the Tom Clancy book about it and was in a Great Bay Bar weraing Varnais Sunglasses and a Hawiian shirt talking about how the 25 ft brass screws were balanced and other ship trivia. They were sure I was a Spook.
We are preventing the only representative government style country in a region full of potentates and monarchies from surviving?
Yeah I agree, words fail me. In essence we are propping up a government that uses axes on its people to prevent them from throwing off an evil and depraved government
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