Panetta defends Afghan strategy following Romney jabs
May 27th, 2012
12:10 PM ET
10 years ago

Panetta defends Afghan strategy following Romney jabs

(CNN) – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Sunday labeled Mitt Romney’s attacks on the withdrawal strategy in Afghanistan “campaign rhetoric” and defended the 2014 drawdown date.

“I think you know without getting into the campaign rhetoric of what he’s asserting, I think you’ve got 50 nations in NATO that agree to a plan in Afghanistan,” Panetta said on ABC’s “This Week.” “It's the Lisbon agreement, an agreement that, you know, others, President Bush, President Obama, everyone has agreed is the direction that we go in in Afghanistan."

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“That is the plan that has been agreed to. And it's a plan that is working,” Panetta said.

NATO and Afghanistan reaffirmed their long-term commitment to a political framework for future cooperation, including the 2014 date, at the NATO Lisbon Summit in 2010.

On the campaign trail, Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has targeted making the Afghanistan timeline known as a “naïve” step by Panetta and Obama. Although he has not contested the 2014 date, he has voiced opposition to making such timetables available to those that might seek to harm the U.S.

“Why in the world do you go to the people that you’re fighting with and tell them the day you’re pulling out your troops?” Romney said at a campaign event in February that was quoted to Panetta during Sunday’s interview.

But Panetta, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, said a timeline is the only way to have a successful transition to Afghan forces.

“The only way to get this accomplished in terms of the transition that we have to go through is to be able to set the kind of timelines that have been set here in order to ensure that we fulfill the mission of an Afghanistan that governs and secures itself,” Panetta said. “That's what this is about.”

Filed under: 2012 • Afghanistan • Leon Panetta • Mitt Romney
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    You can not trust these GOP idiots on Afganistan, well while Bin Laden in Pakistan they went to Iraq, afganistan, bombed on just bare mountains looted this nation,,,idiots of GOP....yes, on Obama 12.....

    May 27, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  2. Bootstomper

    Romney is an idiot just like his buddy trump.

    May 27, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Jewels

    I'm gonna take a chance here but, suspect that Panetta and Obama's administration have a bit more intelligence in their possession over Romney. So, when Romney starts critiquing, I disregard. Also, didn't Romney say that the U.S. should attack Iran? Honestly?

    May 27, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. s.positive

    Romney will never be president by God's grace...

    May 27, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. Ed1

    I know that with all your military background you would agree with Obama doesn't surprise me at all.

    May 27, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. Pander Bear

    More nonsense from Romney. He'll flip flop tomorrow, just wait.

    May 27, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. Larry L

    Romney needs to avoid this subject. President Obama does a masterful job of serving as Commander-In-Chief. He is the terrorist's worst nightmare and still works hard to get Americans home from Bush's little wars. Romney, his sons and the uber-rich they represent will never serve in the Armed Forces and should not play the "Chicken-hawk" role.

    May 27, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. gay guy

    Mitt Romney is correct on this issue as he has been correct on many issues, Obama is in the top 1% of rich folks in America and hes so out of touch with what we as American people want, HE CRAMMED OBAMACARE DOWN OUR THROATS, Which he took 500 billions dollars from medicare to pay for it, WELL PART OF IT, I hate to see old people on medicare lose their medicare as thats what Obama has planned, hes gonna put them on medicaid, which was not set up to handle old folks chronic illneses, I feel so sorry for seniors who are poor AND THEY DONT KNOW THEIR LOSEING THEIR MEDICARE IN A FEW MONTHS 2013, Its a shame, they only deserve the best, OBAMA IS BAD IN MY HUMBLE OPINION TO DO THIS TO AMERICAS SENIORS

    May 27, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. B.

    With Romney’s theory we would stay there forever.. It does not matter what the President says or does, Romney will attack it at any cost to his own credibility.

    The man really has no credibility now after taking so many contradicting stances that no one knows what he is about including himself as he keeps saying, "I didn’t say that", or, "what I meant to say"-

    Romney the Weathervane blows with the Wind.

    May 27, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. Thomas

    Mitt Romney’s attacks Obama on the withdrawal strategy in Afghanistan.

    Maybe Mr. Romney's five sons , who avoided military service will now enlist and volunteer for active duty in Afghanistan if there Father is elected .

    I's sad how easy it is for the Neocon's to sacrifice others lives , never here own.

    May 27, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  11. BeverlyNC

    Romney knows absolutely nothing about war for he was a draft dodger and coward. He has no clue on foreign policy, who the critical nation partners are, who the world leaders and still thought the Soviet Union existed! He is a male Sarah Palin – extreme, dumb as dirt, and should never be let near the White House.
    The fact he stand with a birther says it all about Romney's character and integrity – NONE. Game over. I stand with my President who is a real leader with proven solutions, proven values, and has worked hard non-stop for ALL Americans.

    May 27, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. Curt

    And we all know how much Romney knows about fighting wars. He avoided going to Vietnam by taking off to France trying to recruit people to become Mormoms, none of his 5 trustfund boys have ever served in the military. Whats wrong with annoucing a pullout? I can't understand how it takes 10 years to train the Afgan army when soldiers were trained to go to war in WW2 in a month or so. Want the deficit controlled Romney, think how much money will be saved when these wars in which taxes were never raised to pay for them ends.

    May 27, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. Halls for Obama

    Maybe Mitt will get a chance to go and fight in a war.

    May 27, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. acajunthatsagun

    Whether one tells those that one is fighting against when one plans to leave is immaterial. You don't think the enemy will know when the opposing forces have left. Is Romney's plan to stay indefinitely? What is is his plan? Romney is just flapping his lame jaws as usual.

    May 27, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    LISTEN UP: It was Republicans that said "Governors are a better choice for the Presidency due to their governoring experience". If this is so, why is Romney running away from his tenor as Governor and running on his business expertise. Fact: Romney was a failure as Governor and didn't expect Americans to look at his record at Bain Capitol which created profit for him and loss of jobs, pensions and retirement for the working class.

    May 27, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

    @GayGuy If you had a clue you would be dangerous. You support Republicans like Romney based on your naive perception of the Affordable Health Care Act and out right distortions. Not to mention Romney is in favor of the "Ryan Plan". The Ryan plan is to turn over Medicaid/Medicare to the States, who could then decide how many people can receive it. States would also have the authority to regulate "co-pay" increases. Some how to me, raising rates on co-pay, for people that have no money to begin with (if they had money they would not be on Medicaid), does not seem like a way to reduce costs. If they already can not pay, how are they going to pay more? This is a true form of care rationing. States would raise co-pays as high as it took to get people to NOT see a doctor because they can't afford co-pays. And what about the people that get cut off by states to even be in Medicaid/Medicare because they exceed the number of people that are authorized to be in the system? Do we just euthanize them? Do yourself a favor. Do some research besides Faux Channel and biased sources.

    May 27, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  17. Patrick from Minnesota

    Well that's Mitt Etch-a-Sketch Romney for you, as knit-picky as ever.

    May 27, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. staredge

    The only way to get this accomplished in terms of the transition that we have to go through is to be able to set the kind of timelines that have been set here in order to ensure that we fulfill the mission of an Afghanistan that governs and secures itself,webgame

    May 27, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    I think a new military strategy should take hold. The bigger the advocate you are for war, the closer to the front line you should required to be. Led by the politicians and generals.... Perhaps there would be fewer wars...

    Think Mitt and his kids would be advocates?

    May 27, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Another big republican show. To even allude that Romney, who has no foreign policy experience whatsoever, knows more than the current president, past presidents and NATO, is an insult to every American's intelligence.

    May 27, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. lewy

    did any of you volunteer for the service, i think not!

    May 27, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  22. judy

    romneys vast experience with foreign policy is jjust what this country does Not need. Once again mitt has shown himself for the idiot that he is. To even suggest he knows as much as people like Panetta is just plaine stupid. Complaine about the president but I don't see him or his kids in military service. If elected we will be in another war, Repos can't seem to use diplomacy. Obama 2012

    May 27, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  23. pkbkr

    Thomas, you are right on! Obama/Biden 2012

    May 27, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Egbert2000

    Romney is a worse warmonger than George W.

    May 27, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. mcsunshine

    Not one of you people has any clue what the role of the Commander-in- Chief of the United states armed forces is. If you did, you would realize that it will take us decades to repair the damage that this President has done to our military.

    May 27, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |