Okay, Leon Panetta is not one of my favorite beltway insiders. I think he rather uninspired thinker and as proof, recently named a Democratic Congressman to chair the investigations of the mortuary operations at Dover AFB only to have very same Congressman resign since he was already running for office! However, of late he has been making a lot of sense that President Obama chooses to ignore.
Secretary Panetta only three days ago warned that the proposed super committees recommendation to slash $1.2 trillion in the defense budget could result in aggression towards the United States. In Ohio alone (home to Wright-Patteson AFB), we could active duty military go from 8,000 to 1,000 (as though Ohio needs any more help with unemployment!). Panetta then sounded the alarm that any military action against Iran would at best slow their nuclear program by only about three years. Furthermore, the Sec Def feels (in my opinion correctly) that any strike against Iran would bring retaliation from the Persians (sorry, Iranians).
Given all of Panetta's calls for caution, it seems incredulous that President Obama would seek to continue to antagonize Iran with sanctions. Senator Lindsey Graham's words are just ridiculous. The United States does not need to go to war with Iran and does not need to condone Israeli strikes against Iranian targets. I entered the military at the height of the Cold War and spent most of my early years training how to defeat the Soviet threat. Iran does not pose that order of magnitude threat. And less we all forget, the only country to use nuclear weapons is the United States. If we did not drop the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, then the Soviet Union would not have felt compelled to pursue their nuclear weapons programs with such gusto (yes, I know how many lives are alleged to have been saved by dropping the atomic bombs). With the US and Soviet Union pursuing nuclear weapons, Britain and France followed suit along with North Korea, China, India, Pakistan and Israel (some say even South Africa and Germany). But the United States seems hellbent on stopping the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons regardless of the long term consequences.