December 2nd, 2009
06:40 PM ET
11 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. Ryan in Iowa

    Obama has no clue to what he is doing. Last nights speech was no different then the prior one months ago. U.S. Military should just get down to business, ignore this baffoon and kick the tally's behind. I was shocked that the WPointers were liking to see him, they should have just boo'ed him and walked out. It's nice having a enemy of the state sitting in the Oval Office.

    December 2, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. JB in NJ

    Rumsfeld denies there were requests for more troops to Afghanistan because he chose not to hear the requests for more troops. What an utter failure as Defense Secretary. Another Brownie. I was glad Bush gave him the boot.

    December 2, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  3. Right wingnuts are the darlings of dementia

    Good to hear from clueless Rumsfeld, as once again he shows there are certain knowns, and he knows there are unknowns that he knows about, but this time he is taking his usual 'lie first', and see how much fall out it creates. Glad he is no longer ruining America.

    He is also afraid Cheney will make Don go hunting with him, if he doesn't lie.

    December 2, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  4. Who do you trust?

    How can you tell if Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rove or Bush are lying?

    Because you can see their lips moving.

    December 2, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    Rumsfeld was a habitual liar during his term as Defense Secretary, in fact for his entire acreer in government service.

    I hardly think he has found the truth in forced retirement.

    December 2, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. BillyBobTomRedcracker

    Who do you believe, an Admiral that says more troops were requested or the worst Secretary of Defense in modern history?

    December 2, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. tip

    who cares what rump roast has to say

    December 2, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. Stop the war

    Rumsfeld? Lie? That would never happen... would it?

    December 2, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. NO WONDER NO ONE WANTS THE BE CALLED A REPUBLICAN

    Mr Rumsfeld , The Generals on the ground you know the ones that were requesting this have already spoken out, so why do you lie?? Guess they were not asking for body armor either! Liars make me sick!

    December 2, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. Richard in California

    Is anyone surprised that Donald Rumsfeld, the architect the failed "underwhelming force" strategies that has mired the US in its two current wars, is disputing the President's assertions of truth?

    Mr. Rumsfeld, you ignored the advise and wise counsel of those around you (like Gen. Colin Powell), and of your ground troops, and let Osama bin Laden go, when we could have had ended both al Queda and the Taliban in December 2001.

    You tried to cure cancer with a band-aid, and now the US is forced into a two-front "war on terrorism". Please, for the good of the US and the world, Go Away.

    December 2, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. AJ

    Rumsfeld calling someone liar? Well, I guess he's the expert.

    December 2, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. TEAPARTYCRASHER

    Rummy is lucky he's not in prison. Rummy,Cheney and others in the Bush administration commited war crimes and should be punished! they're all traitors and yellow coward Chickenhawks. The damge they inflicted on America will take years to repair.

    December 2, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. Loup Garou 782

    Any time obama is talking it is most likely a bald faced lie. Rumsfeld's use of the word "Misstatement" is just a pretty word in an attempt to soften the truth. Attempting to soften the truth is what Global Warming Scientific quacks like Al Gore attempt to do.

    December 2, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  14. thersa

    Yes, let's have the whole truth come out, all of it. For instance, why you let Bin Laden escape, and why torture didn't lead us to him? How does that suit you, Rummy?

    December 2, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  15. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Rumsfeld: go back to your hole. You ought to be ashamed of what you did to our country. YOU LIED TO US!

    December 2, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. diridi

    oh, yeh., by not waging a war that is in no way related to 9/11...you idiot, you talk...about pres. obama....it is your idiot, nasty animal, George Bush...who messed our nation...don't you know idiot...is your brain numb, dumb.....shut up....and stay quiet...stupid jerk............

    December 2, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  17. Marilyn, Powell, OH

    Who would believe anything Rummy had to say?

    December 2, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  18. Joshua Ludd

    Bald misstatement? Unlike Rummy's bald lies and bad advice.

    "we will be greeted as liberators", anyone?

    Just another monster with zero credibility given a soapbox by the media when he should have been at worst (for us) run out of town on a rail and at best (for the world) tried for war crimes.

    If they tried a propaganda newspaper publisher at Neuremberg after WW2, then surely a sec. of state qualifies for his role in all of this.

    December 2, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  19. JJA

    Comes down to Rumsfield can't hear what he doesn't want to hear (sayng not one request was made for more troops).

    December 2, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  20. christi

    How would you know anything, Rummy. Your legacy will be one of ineptness. You had no clue. Shut up.

    December 2, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  21. George

    If you believe Rummy, then I've got a bridge to sell you.

    December 2, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  22. Tim E

    I guess Rummy got his bell rung early. He needs to learn that when you call out the President of the United States, you better be prepared to take some hits. Of course, Rummy probably believes you go to war with the revisions you have.

    December 2, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  23. Howard Roark

    Obama's continued blaming of the previous adminstration is illustrative of the most fundamental problem in this country, most notably among democrats: A failure to accept personal resposibility or accountability for ones' actions and decisions in life.

    Teach your children discipline and personal responsibility. Stop blaming others for your lot in life. Stop whining and start working hard.

    December 2, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. Mike

    This pic and today's current political climate almost makes me wish Bush was back in the White House (minus the war that is).

    December 2, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  25. Whine Whine Whine

    The congress has bigger things to deal with than reviewing who asked for what and when. It's petty to ask your name be cleared by wasting congress's time. They do that well enough on their own thank you.

    December 2, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
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