Obama
US President Barack Obama walks toward Marine One while departing the White House on October 7, 2014 in Washington, DC.Getty Images

Former US Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta has openly mocked Obama's leadership skills in his memoir, Worthy Fights, where he stresses that Obama, "avoids the battle, complains, and misses opportunities."

In his memoir, Panetta accuses Obama over his mismanaged leadership both in Syria and Iraq, and says the US President shows, "a frustrating reticence to engage his opponents and rally support for his cause," and often, "relies on the logic of a law professor rather than the passion of a leader."

Panetta had recommended to Obama some two years ago to do more to arm the Syrian rebels, and on that note he says there could have been an advantage had the President acted earlier.

"I do think that we would be in a better position to kind of know whether or not there's a moderate element to the rebel forces. I think if we had started two years ago we would have been in a better place to understand what's happening in Syria today," said Panetta in an interview with Susan Page of USA Today this week.

Page questions Panetta on the credibility that has been put on stake by Obama's past decisions, for instance when he first drew a red line on Syria and later asked for Congressional approval before acting on Syria.

Has Obama's back-and-forth indecisiveness over Syria made it harder to gain international allies now, asks Page, to which Panetta says:

"I think it's very important when the President as commander in chief says that there's a line out there, they should not cross that and use chemical weapons; at that point the credibility of the United States is on the line. And when they actually go ahead and use the chemical weapons, then I think it's important for the President as commander in chief to say a red line has been crossed and we will take action."

The Isis Threat

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta bows his head during ceremonies remembering the 911 anniversary and highlighting the National 911 Flag inside the center courtyard of the Pentagon on September 9, 2011.Getty Images

When asked how big of a threat Isis poses, Panetta says:

"I think it's a significant threat. Isis may not be Al Qaeda but they represent the fanaticism, the terrorism, the evil nature of Islamic extremism that is just as dangerous as Al Qaeda.

"I think the President understands that if we are going to defeat Isis, it has to be a sustained effort. It can't be that we're going to go in one day and pull back the next day. It's not only going to take a military leadership or the leadership of the commander in chief but it's going to take the leadership of the American people to be there and support that effort."

Panetta blames Obama for being a little too extra cautious in fear of not wanting to repeat mistakes from the past.

"You don't get so nervous about doing anything that you fail to make the tough decisions that sometimes a President needs to make to protect the country," said Panetta.