December 2nd, 2009
06:40 PM ET
4 years 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. 1st week of Advent is upon us...the first candle represent HOPE..

    so he speaks the truth? Is this before or after the paper shredder?

    December 2, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. Sean

    Sorry Donny boy but we Americans can't believe a thing coming from your vile, lying, smug mouth anymore. I would have to doubt it if you said that the sky was blue. You have no more currency in the political/public landscape for telling us anything anymore. Just go away!!

    December 2, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  3. David

    While I appreciate the judicious silence that Rumsfeld, in his embarrassment for a job so poorly done, must keep, I would ask that he remain quiet for another 10 or 20 years.

    The damage he and Cheney have inflicted through dim bulb Bush is incalculable, and will take years to correct.

    The only good outcome from these war criminals' tenure is that they were sooooooo bad, that the electorate finally turned to Democratic leadership to rescue the nation.

    December 2, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. ide

    Rumsfeld , please stop!

    December 2, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  5. Preston

    So ..... Rummy lied. Surprise!

    December 2, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  6. Julie Thomas

    The facts speak for themselves, one just has to look back and see that the President is in fact correct. Funny how Rumsfeld has selective memory.

    December 2, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  7. Tom from VA

    Who cares about this guy! He's part of the problem that got us there in the first place! Stifle Rummy....quit criticizing and let Obama do his job. You had your chance and you screwed up royally!

    December 2, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  8. Brook E. Mantia

    Yeah, sure, says Rummy the War Criminal. No one will ever know the truth about the Bushies, because they were such a pack of liars to begin with.

    December 2, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. Robrob

    So, Rumsfeld is making claims about events that occurred AFTER he resigned and left his post in disgrace? Interesting how he tries to put words into the mouth of his replacement.

    December 2, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  10. Mr. T

    This from the man that participated in instigating a very costly war through deception, then went on to completely mis-manage two wars... Which is the greater sin?

    December 2, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  11. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Looks like Dick Cheney called Rumsfeld to get the heat off him after making such an inappropriate statement himself prior to President Obama's plans for Afghan. They are just up to their same old dirty crooked tricks that played out after 9/11. Hold them accountable and send them to prison.

    December 2, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  12. Patrick

    Another liar from the Bush administration emerges . . . . what this guy has to even suggest to the contrary what is already publicly known . . .that troops were diverted to IRAQ when they had the chance to get Bin Laden and then then underfunded the whole thing in Afganistan when IRAQ turned into a war predictated on lies.

    December 2, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. Frank, Xenia, Ohio

    Assuming that Rumsfeld's remarks are correct (which I do not believe for a minute, but let's assume for sake of discussion), he simply can not deny that the Bush administration de-emphasized the war in Afghanistan (where the 9/11 events were planned) and reinforced the war in Iraq–a war waged against a country that did not attack or in any way sponsor an attack against the U.S.

    Rumsfeld needs to crawl back under whatever rock he has been hiding under, and stay out of this debate.

    December 2, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. RICK LB

    RUMMY is, as are the rest BUSH – CHANEY REGIME, a liar. Goes along with using the AUTO PEN to sign off on letters of condolence. Pure unadulterated SCUM BAGS. None of them would make a pimple on a REMF's but.

    December 2, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  15. Ed

    Rumsfeld to Obama:

    "You lie!"

    December 2, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. John D.

    But it's the OBAMA administration. They're above the law. We all know they lie and cheat. It was a prerequisite for them landing a job in the big house. I wonder if it was like these job fairs going on around the country. Either your good at lying or your good at looking and playing dumb which most of them have down pat. So much for the change we were promised. Most of us had the no change figured out after his first week in office though.

    December 2, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. Donnatella

    Where did this old fogy come from, they just forgot all about this war.

    December 2, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. Seth in Jacksonville, FL

    Rumsfeld routinely lied...he can't be trusted.

    December 2, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  19. ggb

    Why must the president stoop to this level to blame Bush publicly? It shows such poor behavior for a man in this position. Why doesn't he go back further and say that the Trade Towers was Clinton's fault for deporting KSM after his first attempt, making nice with our enemies such as Obama and being too involved with Miss Monica to pay attention to the middle east? Go back people, this terrorist act was NOT planned within the first 7 months of Bush and I do know this for fact from family involvement pre 9/11!!! Stop blaming Bush and get constructive not destructive.

    December 2, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  20. Wise AZ

    "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"

    The only reason Obama put this in his speech was to make himself look better for not making a quicker decision on sending more troops.
    He's an empty suit with no real experience, and mroe specifically, no back bone.

    December 2, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  21. chris

    it's HIS war for sure now. or until it, or any other political decision, becomes unpopular. then it becomes time to blame the past. you all know it. it's a crazy look liberals (who he screwed over as we all know. like what he just gave you lefties?) get in their eyes...they start twitching...and then... BUSH...BUSH...spews from their foam filled mouths.

    but the really sad thing is that it could be 30-million. doesn't matter when the rules of engagement are so disgustingly, how should we put it, politically correct. sorry to say it, but we'll probably lose for one reason only. we're the side NOT fighting a war.

    December 2, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  22. Chipster

    Excuse me if I don't take criticism from Rumsfeld seriously. As a key player with the "gang that couldn't shoot straight," he lacks credibility. There really aren't words horrendous enough to describe how badly the Bush Administration, including Rumsfeld, mismanaged practically every aspect of pursuing those who attacked us on 9/11. Rumsfeld, sit down and shut up!

    December 2, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  23. Paul Hogue

    Rummy's used to getting away with lying. It doesn't matter to him that it is a matter of public record the commanders in the Afghan theater were turned down.

    December 2, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  24. Jim

    I am a retired colonel who has served in Iraq among other places. Mr Rumsfeld is one of those responsible for the mess we are in in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even if one buys the assertion that our invasion of Iraq was justified (a tenuous assertion at best), it was still up to the military to make the operation work. It was a foregone conclusion that we would defeat Saddam's army. But because Mr Rumsfeld arrogantly ignored military officers who knew we needed more boots on the ground to seal the borders, implement effective interim government, and protect the populace, we made a mess of things. Even our nation's best cannot do everything when the administration has bad strategy. To top it off, our actions in Iraq effectively resulted in neglect of Afghanistan. So no, what we do not need right now is Mr Rumsfeld saying he did nothing wrong. He was the most arrogant, most inept Secretary of Defense in recent memory.

    December 2, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  25. JAMEY

    Rumsfeld is such a discredited anti-Anerican liar, why would CNN publish anything he said?

    December 2, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
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