Saving a small amount of military men would help to stem the sectarian violence and to prevent the conditions that made the Islamic state promotion possible. The ISIS captured most of Iraq in the last months.
In the fall of 2011, "it became clear to me and many others, that the withdrawal of all our forces would endanger the fragile stability, barely held in Iraq", writes Panetta in the adapted excerpt published in Time magazine.
Although the officials of the Ministry of Defense and the State Department tried to mediate in the agreement with the leadership of Baghdad, the White House took a back seat and did not show any vigor, Panetta said. The government of the United States had "leverage", but they decided not to use it, he wrote.