Panetta Tells Troops They’re In Iraq Because Of 9/11

Newly minted Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made his first visit to Iraq as Pentagon chief and spoke to troops at Camp Victory in Baghdad. Panetta suggested that the U.S. invaded Iraq in retaliation for the 9/11 terror attacks. “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.” As the Washington Post noted, “His statement echoed previous comments made by President George W. Bush and members of his administration, who tried to tie Saddam Hussein’s government to al-Qaeda. But it put Panetta at odds with President Obama, the 9/11 Commission and other independent experts, who have said there is no evidence al-Qaeda had a presence in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.”