Tuesday 17 August 2021

Leon Panetta Compares Afghanistan to Bay of Pigs: ‘Our Credibility Right Now Is in Question’

 Democratic Party elder statesman Leon Panetta said Monday that American credibility was “in question” after the fall of Afghanistan.

Calling it a “sad and tragic” day, the 83-year-old Panetta — who served as CIA director and defense secretary under former President Barack Obama, and as a chief of staff in the White House under former President Bill Clinton — said President Joe Biden would have to “take responsibility” for the development.

“He is president of the United States,” Panetta said in an interview with CNN’s John King. “He is going to have to take responsibility. He is going to have to admit the mistakes that were made and, at the same time, I think, as commander in chief, he is going to have to make very clear to the world that the United States is going to go after terrorism no matter where it’s located, and that we will not stand for al Qaeda or ISIS to reestablish themselves in this Islamic caliphate.”

He made the remarks hours before Biden addressed the situation in a press conference, where he acknowledged the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan “did unfold more quickly than we anticipated” but said the U.S. “could not provide” Afghanistan’s 300,000-strong military “with the will to fight” for the country’s future.

“In many ways, I think of John Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs, you know?” Panetta said. “It unfolded quickly and the president thought that everything would be fine and that was not the case.” But President John F. Kennedy, Panetta noted, “took responsibility for what took place.”

The 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion was a failed rebellion by Cuban exiles funded by the U.S. government aimed at overthrowing the late dictator Fidel Casto’s regime.

“We’ve been through a difficult few days here in Afghanistan, and he’s got to make clear to the American people that as commander in chief, he is going to continue to protect our national security and that we are going to go after terrorists wherever the hell they are at. He’s just got to ensure that the United States of America remains a strong world leader that can work with our allies to try to protect peace and prosperity. That is the message he’s got to give the American people and the world, because our credibility right now is in question.”

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