Panetta Off to Rocky Start as U.S. Defense Secretary

Panetta Off to Rocky Start as U.S. Defense Secretary

On Saturday, he repeatedly bungled the basics of the Afghanistan troop withdrawal process, telling reporters that the United States will still have 70,000 troops there through 2014, even though the administration’s actual plan is for a more aggressive drawdown. Then, in his Camp Victory address, he told the troops that they were there “because on 9/11 the United States got attacked’’ by Al Qaeda, echoing the long-discredited line that embroiled the United States in Iraq in the first place.

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