CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Leon Panetta is an icon of the Democratic Party. 20 years one of the leaders of the party. Everyone knows he's a straight-shooter. You can tell from the tone of the responses to you that he's sympathetic to the president. But he loves this country and feels he has to say the truth. And what he said, the content of what he said, even though the tone was measured in restraint, was utterly devastating. He was basically saying this president cannot lead. He is indecisive and weak.
What was so interesting is it wasn't even in the discussion that Iraq or Afghanistan, but this won't even be reported, but the thing he said about Ukraine where he just sort of -- he laid out what should be done, what is obvious we have to do to give Ukraine weapons, which we have not done to redo and reinvigorate the missile defense agreement, with Obama that he has not done. To be serious about the defenses of Eastern Europe. And he said this just outright, you said, why doesn't he do it? He absolutely has no answer.
And then, you know, you're trying to get into Obamaâ€™s head or Panettaâ€™s understanding of Obamaâ€™s head and he doesn't have an answer. And if you look at it in terms of what's happening in the Middle East, there are two things that come out. Itâ€™s not just indecisiveness and how tentative Obama is, but it's also how political he is. Remember when Gates, Bob Gates wrote his book, he talked about how the decision-making about the surge in Afghanistan and then leaving in Afghanistan was essentially dictated by the political types in the White House. And you get the same thing in the Panetta book about Iraq.
He knew we had to leave troops in Iraq. It is one of the worst decisions ever made by this president. And you called it a blunder, which of course it is. And the answer of how it came about is that it was the political types in the White House who wanted to go into 2012 with no troops left in Iraq, so Obama could say, I ended the war in Iraq. Of course, he didn't end the war in Iraq, Petraeus ended the war in Iraq â€“ Obama threw away the fruits of victory --Â but it was the political nature of that that is the biggest indictment of Obama. When he put the White House concerns about the political partisan fortunes of the president above the national security of the country.