“The president of the United States, as commander in chief has the responsibility to protect our vital national security interests. There’s no question that the credibility and the leadership of the United States in a troubled world is extremely important to our national security,” Panetta said in a clip from an NBC News interview that will air Friday. “Having drawn a clear red line that Syria should not use chemical weapons, same kind of red line that we’ve drawn on Iran, with regards to the use of nuclear weapons, it is absolutely important to our national security interest that we back up that word and take action when that line has been violated.”
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Panetta is convinced that the Assad regime is behind the chemical attacks saying that the intelligence is “pretty clear,” and the U.S. now has a responsibility, regardless of how “war exhausted” the nation is.