Micah Zenko's November 27 column, headlined "Offensive Maneuver: Why Does Leon Panetta Hate Democracy?", is absurd. Zenko suggests that a secretary of defense should not voice concerns about the potential impact of excessive cuts to the defense budget. That's precisely what a secretary of defense should do, especially when this secretary is implementing $487 billion in defense spending reductions based on a strategy developed by the department's military and civilian leaders. The secretary has appropriately called for a national conversation about the entire federal budget with an eye toward encouraging Americans to take a balanced approach to deficit and debt reductions. That's what a leader in a democracy does. To suggest that he has "belittled the process of deliberative democracy" is deeply offensive and beyond the pale.