Panetta: US ‘Within an Inch of War Almost Every Day’

US Won't Attack Syria 'Unless the International Community Backs Involvement'

Speaking today in an interview with CNN, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta insisted he cannot sleep at night, and that the US is “within an inch of war almost every day,” saying that North Korea, Iran and Syria were particular “threats.”

Unspoken in Panetta’s “inch of war” comments are that none of the three nations mentions are thought to be considering an attack on the US in even the wildest of speculations, and that the only question is if the Obama Administration decides to attack one or more (or in the case of Iran, if Israel attacks and the US joins in).

Panetta was non-committal on exactly how the US might start such wars, except in Syria, where he said that the US wouldn’t attack Syria “unless the international community backs involvement.”

This of course mirrors comments about Syria made by Panetta last month, in which he spurned the notion of getting Congressional authorization for a war with Syria, insisting that the administration’s goal was “international permission” and that it would only then decide to inform Congress about the imminent war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.