Risk aversion has been the singular characteristic of military policy since at least Mogadishu and arguably since our withdrawal from Vietnam. But, the risk has not been defined in military terms at all. This risk has been wholly political and largely short term political risk. The Democrats have been the leader of the pack in this regard, but the Republicans have not been immune to this disease.
Panetta has given us the reason for Obama’s decisions that directly led to this disaster: risk to the reelection of Barack Obama, President of the United States. They care about nothing else and are willing to sacrifice lives, world standing, and the future of the country for political victory.
Risk aversion has been the singular characteristic of military policy since at least Mogadishu and arguably since our withdrawal from Vietnam.This is the argument Panetta is hoping everyone will have, though. He is hoping that his comments will now get everyone on the conservative side up in a tizzy saying "Damn the risk, we should have done something!" and the liberal side in a counter argument consistent with their historical dove-like posture. But this argument is a distraction. Panetta has admitted that either they knew it was a sophisticated attack or they were not sure that it was not a sophisticated attack. If that is the case, then they CANNOT come out three days later and say for the next two weeks that they know what caused it and it is a video that sparked a spontaneous demonstration!