“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.”For some reason this statement made the front page in multiple newspapers, and Panetta had to issue a clarification. Anyone with the slightest clue understands that 9/11 provided the impetus for the Iraq War. Political acceptance of the idea of preemption arose in the aftermath of the attacks on the U.S. It is highly unlikely that there would have been widespread support for invading Iraq, let alone a Congressional authorization, had 9/11 never taken place. Only an idiot would take Panetta's remarks to mean that he believed we went to war in Iraq because of the presence of Al Qaeda in that country at the time. Front-page stories about his statement appear to be an effort to manufacture a controversy.
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