Panetta, Petraeus appointments further blur the line between soldiers and spies

The fusion of soldiering and spying took another step forward with President Obama’s selections of CIA Director Leon Panetta as his next Defense Secretary and General David Petraeus to replace Panetta at the CIA.

At times American military and intelligence operatives are already virtually indistinguishable from each other.

Armed conflict, or the threat of it, never has been an Amish picnic.

But modern warfare has become increasingly complex since the Revolutionary days when American patriots hit behind trees to ambush British troops too stupid to stop marching in open fields.

For instance, Panetta turned the CIA into a paramilitary organization by escalating the use of drone strikes and building secret bases in Afghanistan. Petraeus has had troops conduct secret intelligence missions.

The elite soldier/spy has to be so cool he doesn’t even have belly-button lint and so cold-blooded he can blow by enemies like they were road kill.

Of course, James Bond was the prototype of the suave spy/killer commando combo.

Soon Marine recruits may be training in tuxes at Parris Island.