Panetta Predicts ’30-Year War’ Against ISIS

Biden: Panetta Should Wait Until Obama Leaves Office to Say That

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was harshly critical of President Obama’s handling of the new ISIS war, saying the US could have sustained the 2011 Iraq occupation and started arming Syrian rebels even sooner than they did.

But perhaps the most eye-opening comment in has new book tour was that he believes the conflict is a “30-year war” that will extend across the world, including campaigns in Nigeria, Somalia, and Libya, among other places.

Panetta’s new book, entitled Worthy Fights, argues that the Obama Administration repeatedly erred by not taking more hawkish positions, including says the US should’ve invaded Syria outright in 2013 instead of making the deal for Syria to scrap its chemical weapons.

He went on to argue that the 30-year world war he envisions is a chance to “repair the damage” caused by lot launching massive wars in the previous few years, calling the lack of wars “missed opportunities.”

Vice President Joe Biden was quick to criticize Panetta, although not on the content of his hawkish comments. Rather, Biden said it was “inappropriate” for Panetta to criticize Obama at all, on anything, until after 2016, and that he should “at least give the guy a chance to get out of office.”

It is unclear how far afield, however, Panetta’s assessment of a 30-year war actually is from the Obama Administration’s own vision of an open-ended conflict, as officials have talked up the conflict lasting many years, and Obama himself said the decisions of the war were to be made by the next president “and probably the one after that.”

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.