December 2nd, 2009
06:40 PM ET
6 months ago

Rumsfeld says Obama made 'bald misstatement'

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he never received a request for more troops to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he never received a request for more troops to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Washington (CNN) – Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld criticized President Obama's assertion Tuesday that the Bush administration ignored requests for more troops to battle the Taliban, declaring the president's remark made during his address on Afghanistan a "bald misstatement."

Rumsfeld said Wednesday that during his time as Bush's Secretary of Defense, he was "not aware of a single request of that nature."

"The President's assertion does a disservice to the truth and, in particular, to the thousands of men and women in uniform who have fought, served and sacrificed in Afghanistan," Rumsfeld said in a statement. "In the interest of better understanding the President's announcement last night, I suggest that the Congress review the President's assertion in the forthcoming debate and determine exactly what requests were made, who made them, and where and why in the chain of command they were denied."

But Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff since October of 2007, said Wednesday that the former top commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, had requested more troops during the previous administration, but they were sent to Iraq instead.


"In my tenure here, Gen. McKiernan specifically had a fairly substantial request for upwards of 20,000 forces which we couldn't meet because they just weren't there. They were in Iraq," Mullen said. "I spoke out early that Afghanistan was under resourced... We didn't have them because they were pushed to Iraq. We didn't have the flexibility to move them. That was the priority of a previous president. We do what the president says and that's what we did."

In his speech, Obama said his predecessors "repeatedly" ignored requests for more troops and said that this is one reason why he decided to send more.

"Commanders in Afghanistan repeatedly asked for support to deal with the reemergence of the Taliban, but these reinforcements did not arrive," Obama said Tuesday night. "And that's why, shortly after taking office, I approved a longstanding request for more troops."

soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. Bill

    Imagine rumsfeld distorting the truth

    December 2, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  2. Hairless

    Obama made "bald" mis-statement? What ?

    Sorry Donald, clearly you are thinning a bit on top. We think it goes deeper than just the root. Your creditability is also thinning.

    December 2, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  3. Rob

    Yet another lie from a member of the previous administration. I guess after eight years of similar behavior, at least some just can't seem to give it up.

    December 2, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  4. ED FL

    It was good to see dumber and dumber back together again.maybe they can figure out how to expedite the secssion of Texas from the United States. they would make a great president and Vice president and Karl rove their Secretary of State. Albertoo Gonzales would be the legal beagle and those four could screw upEX-TEXAS almost as bad as they did the U,S.

    December 2, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. Samurai Cowboy

    How many tens of thousands of troops were begged for by the top Generals in Afghanistan? 20,000? More? All in Iraq where they had no place being. Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz should all stand trial for War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity, Genocide of the Iraqi people and Plundering a country for its Natural Resources.

    December 2, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  6. Michael

    Rumsfeld fought both wars on the cheap and that is his lasting legacy. His actions have directly lead to what we are suffering today in both theaters of conflict. He will assuredly go down as one of the worst Secretaties of Defense this nation has ever had.

    December 2, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  7. CNN afraid of a liberal post

    We were in TWO WARS....COUNT THEM FOLKS, TWO WARS, because the bush administration with help from such butts as rumsfield. And now he has the timidity to tell the country, this administration is wrong.

    After all if the bush administration and it's many enablers had gotten it RIGHT we wouldn't still be in these wars now would we...but then what do you expect from a bunch of republicans screw ups.

    December 2, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  8. Bob of Lompoc

    Let's see, I must decide who is lying, Rumsfeld, or any other human on earth. Duh! It's Rumsfeld.

    December 2, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  9. ATL Guy

    Rumsfield thinking is "If i didn't SEE it, then there was no request".

    December 2, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  10. Richard L

    Based on Admiral Mullen's statement, it is Rumsfeld that "does a disservice to the truth and, in particular, to the thousands of men and women in uniform who have fought, served and sacrificed in Afghanistan".

    December 2, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  11. republicans hate america

    rummy your a liar

    December 2, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  12. bobster

    Anther bold LIE by the chinny and butch gang, it wasn't about afganistan, WAKE-UP AMERICA! It's all about the oil. study wwII... He who controls the oil controls the world, look at suadi arabia, filthy rich for no reason at all! what have they contribute lately to the world except terrist and religion!

    December 2, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  13. Bill

    Rumsfeld's claim that Obama's assertion that troop requests were ignored by the Bush Administration does a disservice to the men and women of the armed forces is a typical republican attempt at misdirection, something the Bush administration proved very adept at. He's a liar.

    December 2, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  14. Another Reformed Republican

    And Rumsfeld is the idiot who underestimated the needs of the war in Iraq which allowed many Iraqi cities to be plundered by outlaws! Who does he think he is to criticize the efforts of those who have to clean up his mess? Also, who were the architects for drawing down the size of America's military? Cheney and Rumsfeld!

    These Republican lackeys who have proven themselves to be incompetent should practice reticence.

    December 2, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  15. Polly

    Thinking he's God again.....blah, blah,blah.

    December 2, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  16. Brian

    NObama making things up? Let's all put on our shocked faces...

    December 2, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  17. Mike S., New Orleans

    "Rummy, you did a heck of a job." No go away.

    December 2, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  18. Independent Lilarose, Bandon, Oregon

    Rumsfeld, the only think you need to think about is being a convict in some max security jail in America the Beautiful.

    And I won't care what happens to you there.

    You are the devil.

    December 2, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  19. m smith

    Rumsfeld can't remember what day it is. I guess the Army brass is all wrong now.

    December 2, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  20. proud dem in nc

    Shut up Rummy!!! You were the biggest cluster of a Sec. Def.. It took years for the troops to get all the body armor and up-armored vehicles they begged for. You were most incompetant and today Sec. Gates runs rings around you. You rode off into the sunset leaving a disaster in your wake. bye bye and take Cheney with you. Losers!!!

    December 2, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  21. phoenix86

    Obama is a liar. Nothing new here except the continuing media support of this most incompetent of presidents.

    December 2, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  22. duckunder

    I don't think Rummy was aware of much of anything.

    December 2, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. Proud member of "Global Zero:

    Rumsfeld is an almost bald mistake. CNN, why do you keep putting these liars and idiots on such a public platform I do believe we have had enough of them.

    Have a Happy Holiday.

    December 2, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  24. Paul Bearer

    Who does Rumsfeld think he's fooling...what a dishonest person he is.

    December 2, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. John

    You screwed up Rummy. Just admit it.

    December 2, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
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