Patterico's Pontifications

7/11/2011

Defense Secretary Panetta Makes the Mother of All Kinsley Gaffes (Update: Correcting the WaPo)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 12:23 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: Forgot to Hat Tip Althouse for that one, and one of her commenters noticed the same misuse of the term “refute” that Steven Den Beste notices in the comments.  GMTA.

Of course a Kinsley Gaffe is defined as when a politician accidentally says the truth and boy howdy did Leon Panetta do that!

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Monday appeared to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq as part of the war against al-Qaeda, an argument controversially made by the Bush administration but refuted by President Obama and many Democrats.

Panetta made his remarks during his his inaugural visit to Iraq as Pentagon chief. Speaking to about 100 soldiers at Camp Victory, the largest U.S. military installation in Baghdad, he said his primary goal as defense secretary was to defeat al-Qaeda worldwide.

“The reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked,” Panetta told the troops. “And 3,000 Americans — 3,000 not just Americans, 3,000 human beings, innocent human beings — got killed because of al-Qaeda. And we’ve been fighting as a result of that.”

His statement echoed previous comments made by President George W. Bush and members of his administration, who tried to tie Saddam Hussein’s government to al-Qaeda.

He tries to walk it back a little bit in the article, but it can’t be undone.  It was too deliberate a statement.  Plainly, he accidentally told us what he really thought about it.  And I will remind you that he was head of the CIA.

But then again, Panetta has a history standing up and telling the truth that liberals deny.  For instance, after the death of bin Laden, it was Panetta who admitted that waterboarding gave us information that led to bin Laden.  And in a weird way, I really respect that.

Update: And for bonus points, the WaPo misstates the finding of the 9-11 Commission:

But it put Panetta at odds with President Obama, the 9/11 Commission and other independent experts, who have said there is no evidence al-Qaeda had a presence in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Except that it isn’t what they said.  Of course, the report did say on page 83 that there was no evidence of a “collaborative operational relationship.”  But for instance on page 78, they there was an al Qaeda offshoot operating in Kurdistan and the commission suggested that they were aided by the Iraqi regime in attacking “the common Kurdish enemy.”  Which kind of contradicts the claim of no presence, doesn’t it?

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

52 Responses to “Defense Secretary Panetta Makes the Mother of All Kinsley Gaffes (Update: Correcting the WaPo)”

  1. I can’t find it now, Aaron, but there was a post at Ace the other week that possibly explains a great deal. That the BHO administration distrusts others, and only has a small “in group.” Thus, they are superoverworked following statements of government officials, which is why we see so many “off narrative” or boneheaded statements.

    It’s a thought. Kind of a Nixonian distrust issue.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  2. simon

    see, i disagree. i think panetta just has an honest streak in him.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  3. I thought our presence in Iraq was supposed to be “fly paper” for Al Qaida? Worked, sorta.

    jeanne (5a5d33)

  4. Panetta committed the classic “DC Gaffe” -
    he inexplicably told the truth, contradicting the CW.

    AD-RtR/OS! (53cd3a)

  5. One thing that is easily forgotten is how many of those 3000 were NOT Americans. Citizens of at least a dozen foreign countries were murdered that day, including 76 citizens of the UK. I believe that far more UK citizens died on 9/11 than in any single terrorist incident during the Northern Ireland troubles.

    Atlanta Teacher (b120ce)

  6. oops, that was me – my sock puppet got on the wrong thread!

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  7. whoever wrote that needs to look up “refute” in the dictionary. It means “disprove”, not “deny”.

    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1)

  8. Aaron, we don’t disagree. What I am saying is that the White House doesn’t have close control on message. Do you honestly think that BHO wanted Panetta to say that, and if he had been asked to approve, would have said “sure”?

    I guess I wasn’t clear enough. I agree that Panetta is straightforward in his opinions.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  9. atlanta teacher/amph

    an excellent point.

    Steven

    lol maybe they meant “refudiate”

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  10. and in the interests of fairness, my refudiate crack ain’t totally original.

    And probably not actually funny, either.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  11. But for instance on page 78, they there was an al Qaeda offshoot operating in Kurdistan and the commission suggested that they were aided by the Iraqi regime in attacking “the common Kurdish enemy.” Which kind of contradicts the claim of no presence, doesn’t it?

    WaPo’s ombudsman should be asked to look into this. It would be the mother of all corrections!

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (a18ddc)

  12. “Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Monday appeared to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq as part of the war against al-Qaeda…”

    You can look at it any way you want to, I reckon.

    For myself, I say it’s a war against ALL Muslim terrorists, Muslim terrorist groups and Muslim state sponsors of terrorism that have attacked the United States and/or its citizens.

    I want to wipe Hezbollah off the map just as much as I want to liquidate Al Qaida and all its members. I want to destroy the government of the mad mullahs in Iran as much as I wanted to see the Baathists in Iraq destroyed.

    Dave Surls (79bcd4)

  13. ‘“The reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked,” Panetta told the troops.’

    One of the reasons they’re there is because the constant backstabbing and treachery of liberals (in the government, in the media, in the streets) made it a lot harder for us to carry out a campaign there, so things took longer than they needed have.

    The main reasons they OUGHT to still be there is to kill more Muslim terrorists, and because we need to have bases and forces in Iraq to carry out an invasion of Iran, so that we can eliminate the government of Iran and kill all the Mullahs…which we should have done decades ago.

    Dave Surls (79bcd4)

  14. Lying about the contents of the 9/11 Commission report has been a practice of Democrats and the WAPO since it was released.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  15. SPQR – you could have stopped at “lying”. It is what they do.

    JD (b98cae)

  16. http://www.regimeofterror.com
    Maybe the press shouldn’t have blindly accepted partisan lies from their fellow leftwingers….

    mark e (034028)

  17. The meme that Saddam had no contact with, or operations in aid of, AQ, was contradicted by volumes of evidence long ago.
    But with the Left, Mark Twain can be listened to:
    It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

    I think RR borrowed and paraphrased that too.

    AD-RtR/OS! (53cd3a)

  18. JD, I was trying to be topical.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  19. Every time Leon talks, I find myself liking him more and more…

    Remember when he called Pelosi a liar? He’s be head of the CIA for what, 3 months at that point?

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  20. scott

    i forgot about that one.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  21. “But it put Panetta at odds with President Obama, the 9/11 Commission and other independent experts, who have said there is no evidence al-Qaeda had a presence in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.”

    As SPQR noted, that’s a bald-faced lie, but even if it was true, other terrorists DID have a presence in Iraq, and were backed by the (former) Baathist government of Iraq.

    The FRC, PLF and MEK all were BASED in Iraq, all were supported by the Baathists, and all had carried out terror attacks that resulted in the deaths of United States citizens.

    I’m sure lefty scum like Barack Obama couldn’t care less that terrorists like Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas, with the backing of the Baathists, murdered innocent Americans…but, some of us do care, and we wanted the heads of the guys that did it.

    And, we finally got the bastards, no thinks to turds like the slimy rat currently residing at 1600 Pennsylvania.

    Dave Surls (602bbc)

  22. I’m sorry I’m not that charitable, toward Leon,
    June 15, 2009:

    ccording to The New Yorker, Panetta said Cheney “smells some blood in the water” on the security issue.

    “It’s almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it’s almost as if he’s wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point. I think that’s dangerous politics,” he said, according to the piece.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/15/cheney-hope-panetta-misquoted-claiming-wish-attack#ixzz1Rpf3KcOy

    ian cormac (d380ce)

  23. Leon Panetta should be praised for ordering the SEALS to kill Osama.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  24. It’s a little too much like ordering Jack Ruby to kill Lee Harvey Oswald.

    ropelight (a1fbb3)

  25. You can argue that it was inadvertent, rather than intentional. But that won’t alter the fact that, by taking the war to the Muslim terrorists, rather than allowing them to continue to attack us on our own soil, the “fly-paper effect” in Iraq worked, enabling us to kill thousands of would-be terrorists in Iraq before they could blow up anymore embassies, ships or targets in this country. GW’s policies kept us safe for 8 years, and those same policies are continuing to keep us safe with this current administration. Remember, too, that it was the appeasement, gross negligence and gross incompetence of the Clinton Administration which were a direct cause of the tragic events of 9/11, outrageous misbehavior which led al Queda to believe that they could continue to attack us with impunity and without any fear of reprisals.

    Summit, N.J. (75c9eb)

  26. “SPQR” wannabee and imposter: Still stealing the names and the opinions of one of the internet’s Super Trolls, I see. Penis envy, eh?

    Summit, N.J. (75c9eb)

  27. Who says Muslim terrorists aren’t stupid?

    They keep coming to Iraq and to Afganistan in droves from all over the world, receiving hospitality from our good ol’ southern boys, who get them to take up permanent residency in both of those sh*tholes.

    Summit, N.J. (75c9eb)

  28. off reservation
    something loosened lib tongue of
    Leon Panetta

    ColonelHaiku (f2ed50)

  29. there once was a time
    when the washington post had
    credibility

    ColonelHaiku (f2ed50)

  30. Sec Def Panetta
    will soon become known as
    Sec Def Piñata

    ColonelHaiku (f2ed50)

  31. eat your peas Leon
    or you will have ass handed
    to you by lefties

    ColonelHaiku (f2ed50)

  32. The Colonel assumes facts not in evidence.

    ropelight (a1fbb3)

  33. you know what they say
    when you assume it make ass
    of you and me… wait!

    ColonelHaiku (f2ed50)

  34. whoever wrote that needs to look up “refute” in the dictionary. It means “disprove”, not “deny”.

    I first noticed this usage about twenty years ago, and it’s grated on me ever since. “Refute” is not a synonym for “rebut”, let alone “deny”. A rebuttal is a denial with evidence; a refutation is a conclusive rebuttal.

    I also get upset when people say “flaunt” instead of “flout”, and “could care less” instead of “couldn’t…”. And when people confuse “Capitol” with “capital”. Professional journalists are supposed to be fluent in English, and their writing should show it.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  35. when they say “flautas”
    colonel come running very
    tasty with the guac…………. amole

    ColonelHaiku (f2ed50)

  36. the “professional
    journalist” went the way of
    T-Rex long ago

    ColonelHaiku (f2ed50)

  37. One of the Dems’ favourite tricks on this subject is to deliberately confuse the question of whether Hussein was involved with al Qaeda and the international Islamist terrorist network, with whether he was involved in the 11-Sep-2001 attacks. The answer to the latter question is that while it was reasonable in the immediate aftermath of the attacks to suspect him of involvement, the evidence since then is that he was not involved. But that has nothing at all to do with the first question, and the answer to that one is a clear “yes”. He was heavily involved, both formally and informally, and thus when President Bush announced on the night of 11-Sep-2001 that he regarded the USA as at war not only with the perpetrators of the attack but with their whole network, Iraq was included.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  38. The Mukharabat, their security service, had ties to Egyptian Jihad, Hekmatyar’s HIG, and Abu Sayyaf, and that’s just off the top of my head.

    ian cormac (d380ce)

  39. Of course he was involved… the guy gifted the families of homicide bombers with $25K, funded Carlos the Jackal, etc.

    Saddam Hussein was the very definition of a terrorist.

    ColonelHaiku (f2ed50)

  40. Ansar al Islam

    JD (e0b833)

  41. Who are the mukharabat?

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  42. It’s the name for the security services of several
    Moslem countries, Egypt, Syria, and for the
    purposes here, Iraq

    ian cormac (d380ce)

  43. I want to wipe Hezbollah off the map just as much as I want to liquidate Al Qaida and all its members. I want to destroy the government of the mad mullahs in Iran as much as I wanted to see the Baathists in Iraq destroyed.

    Comment by Dave Surls

    Yes!

    Dianna (f12db5)

  44. Iran go nuklar
    as world turns and Big Zero
    says eat your peas NOW!

    ColonelHaiku (f2ed50)

  45. Oh alright i get it now.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  46. “SPQR” wannabee and imposter: Still stealing the names and the opinions of one of the internet’s Super Trolls, I see. Penis envy, eh?

    Comment by Summit, N.J. — 7/11/2011 @ 3:32 pm

    WTF? I’m not an imposter of anything or anybody. And I don’t think I envy anyone’s penis. So do us all a favor and quit playing with yours.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  47. We have gone into lala land with some of the new people . ..

    JD (e0b833)

  48. Where is it MSNMBC is supposedly out of, Ft. Lee, NJ

    ian cormac (d380ce)

  49. _______________________________________________

    But then again, Panetta has a history standing up and telling the truth that liberals deny.

    Pretty much a manifestation of what anyone would be exhibiting if he or she were given an antidote to the severe illness of limousine liberalism.

    Mark (411533)

  50. Its pretty bizarre really, because as a congressman and a flunky in the Clinton admin, Panetta was a hack. Its weird to see him as the most adult Democrat in the Obama admin.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  51. Accidentally telling the truth is the ONLY way this administration ever manages to do it.

    Icy Texan (89a6d9)


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