"We can't kill our way out” : A bipartisan vision for 21st century American foreign policy
October 26th, 2012
10:00 AM ET

"We can't kill our way out” : A bipartisan vision for 21st century American foreign policy

By Jane Harman,  Special to CNN

Editor's note: Jane Harman is the director of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. She served nine terms as a Democratic member of the House of Representatives from California where she served on the Armed Services, Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees. The views expressed here are her own.

In spite of all the hoopla about bayonets and horses during Monday's presidential debate about America's role in the world, Governor Mitt Romney sounded surprisingly like President Barack Obama on the campaign trail four years ago:

"We can't kill our way out of this mess," Romney said. We're going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the world of Islam and other parts of the world ... reject this radical violent extremism."

Yes! At last, we have two presidential candidates who believe that playing whack-a-mole will never suffice.

As Obama said when he ran for his first term, America is a country "whose strength abroad is measured not just by armies, but rather by the power of our ideals, and by our purpose to forge an even more perfect union at home."

Both candidates consistently made that case on Monday. While partisans panned the debate - and neither side appears to have gained much of an election bounce - I saw it as evidence that we're that much closer to articulating a much-needed bipartisan vision for projecting our values around the world.

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Filed under: Foreign Policy • Opinion • Security Brief
Panetta on Benghazi attack: 'Could not put forces at risk'
A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi burns.
October 26th, 2012
01:28 AM ET

Panetta on Benghazi attack: 'Could not put forces at risk'

By Chris Lawrence

The U.S. military did not get involved during the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, last month because officials did not have enough information about what was going on before the attack was over, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Thursday.

At a Pentagon news briefing, Panetta said there was no "real-time information" to be able to act on, even though the U.S. military was prepared to do so.

"You don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on," Panetta said. "(We) felt we could not put forces at risk in that situation."

A defense official provided more context on Panetta's comments about the decision-making involved in not sending U.S. troops to the consulate being attacked in Benghazi.

He said there was a drone aloft but not directly over the area at the time the attack began.

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Filed under: drones • Libya • Military • Panetta