Rumsfeld, architect of Iraq war, says Obama hasn't yet justified Syria attack
August 29th, 2013
09:30 AM ET
8 months ago

Rumsfeld, architect of Iraq war, says Obama hasn't yet justified Syria attack

(CNN) – Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who along with President George W. Bush helped send the United States military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, said in an interview Wednesday the White House has yet to justify potential strikes in Syria.

And he sharply criticized President Barack Obama’s administration for allowing details about that potential military action to become public before any decisions have been made.

“I can’t imagine what they’re thinking, why they would want the Assad regime to have crystal clarity with respect to what they intend,” Rumsfeld said in an interview on the Fox Business Network.

Obama told the "PBS Newshour" on Wednesday that he hadn’t yet made a final decision about U.S. military action in Syria, though U.S. officials have been cited widely in news reports pointing to cruise missile attacks on military facilities as a likely American response to alleged chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime.

Acknowledging it was difficult to fully ascertain the administration’s thinking as an outsider, Rumsfeld maintained it was puzzling the amount of information that’s made its way to the public.

"The idea of demystifying for the enemy what you're going to do is mindless,” he said.

Rumsfeld served a secretary of defense from 2001-2006, a period that saw the U.S. begin wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He said in the interview, however, that current statements from Obama and his aides haven’t met the threshold for intervention in Syria.

“There really hasn’t been any indication from the administration as to what our national interest is with respect to this particular situation,” he said. “When you think about what’s really important in that region – it’s Iran’s nuclear program and the relationship between Iran and Syria, the Assad regime, with respect to terrorists that go around killing innocent men, women and children, including Americans.”

He added that Secretary of State John Kerry, who left the U.S. Senate earlier this year for the top diplomatic post, had been “dealt a bad hand” by his predecessor Hillary Clinton and Obama, who he claimed had created a global leadership void.

“This administration has been in a withdrawal mode, an apology mode,” he said, adding: “That vacuum we’ve created is being filled by people that don’t have our values or interests.”


Filed under: Donald Rumsfeld • Syria
soundoff (636 Responses)
  1. Jack

    Look who's talking. One of the dynamic duo that trumped up information on Iraq so we could go to war. Unbelievable!

    August 29, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. Neal

    The way to do it is to wait a dozen years, until Assad has gassed, tortured and suppressed millions. Then manufacture a justification to invade with a full scale army. When the fighting is over, we'd declare victory, in the midst of a growing insurgency, comprised of freshly unemployed soldiers. The backlash would be further fueled by a total lack of planning for the rebuilding and management of a post war environment, where most of the infrastructure has been destroyed by our smart bombing campaign.

    Yessiree, making life and death decisions, for entire countries, on the other side of the globe, is best left to old, white, privileged and extremely arrogant men, who have zero military training, and who face absolutely no consequences for their ill-informed, hasty and disastrous decision making.

    August 29, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. rod

    Is this the Onion?!!

    August 29, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. justageek

    Mock him if you want but he is right about not having a case that we know of. Hopefully we've learned a thing or two from his past mistakes.

    August 29, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. JohnG

    A real war criminal who helped mislead the US into TWO wars should be at The Hague instead of playing political games.

    August 29, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    @Fair – The Russians have sent an aircraft carrier towards Syria to protect their interests. They will react in some fashion to any military action against Assad. Don't forget that Assad has been most unafraid of US military intervention. He's practically dared the US to do anything, and warned of military response. It would be foolish to assume that the response would come exclusively from Syria.

    August 29, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. samsart

    This from a man, along with Cheney , et al who foisted some of the most gargantuan lies ever on the American people and the world at large! What arrogance he shows.

    We need to stop being the MP for the globe. Chastise Syria for the horrors, don't enable anyone in the country to do anything- and let the anger, disgust, etc. fall where it belongs- within Syria.

    August 29, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. Jim Holloman

    And he thinks Bush provided justification for the Iraqi invasion? Some republicans have lost all sense of objectivity ; especially those involved with the corrupt administration of George W. Bush.

    Don't worry, Mr. Rumsfield, President Obama is not telling the Syrians anything that they do not already know. We tend to underestimate the knowledge and intelligence of others. They are better informed via their own intelligence gathering that you might suspect.

    August 29, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. Nino

    Why this guy isn't in jail......??? Too big to jail???

    August 29, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. Jeff Cohee

    Rumsfeld is the last person on earth who should be weighing in on this topic!

    August 29, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. dan

    He of all people should talk. He couldn't have been more wrong about Saddam's WMD's. His eagerness to go to war cost a lot of innocent people their lives.

    August 29, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Frank M

    There comes a time when evil needs to be put away, not for selfish reasons (Oil) but for the better of mankind. The use of chemical weapons on women and children and families is abhorrent. Rumsfeld however is still stuck in that "what is in it for us" mentality

    August 29, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. Peter

    Rumsfled! Really!!

    August 29, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. SimpleLife

    You know you done screwed up good when even Don the murdering Rumsfeld tells you you don;t have enough to go kill brown people just yet.

    August 29, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    define irony

    August 29, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. Glenn

    Coming from this guy is a joke. At least there sis actual evidence that Syria is using the chemical weapons unlike Iraq. That being said I don't think the US needs to get involved in yet another war. Let's take a break.

    August 29, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. charles bowen

    If they were to gas Donald Dumsfeld i bet that case would be made.... Don, No offence ,but you and your opinion are irrelivant and you have blown any credibility you ever had a long long time ago....My suggestion to syrians is to get out while the gettin is good...Don't fight and die for a leader who Gasses his own people....We should all be praying for Assads speedy demise.....Have a Great Day! Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

    August 29, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. suesark

    Sounds like sour grapes to me. Seems Obama knew how to go about getting Bin Laden

    August 29, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. Mike Hunt

    0bama's message to the world has already been sent: the message is that he has absolutely no clue what he's doing.

    August 29, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Mike Hunt

    0bama's message to the world has already been sent and received: the message is that he has absolutely no clue what he's doing.

    August 29, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. carboncow

    Did this guy actually say:

    Obama hasn't yet justified Syria attack

    I'm oretty sure Donny still hasn't justified Iraq...should we be caring what he said?

    August 29, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. Order66

    RON PAUL would have kept out of this. Its no wonder the world hates us more and more every day.

    August 29, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. TAK

    Let me get this straight. According to Rumsfeld, imaginary WMDs is justification to invade Iraq but ACTUAL USE of REAL WMDs is not enough justification to send a few missiles into Syria?

    And he's telling the president to focus on Iran? Where was Rumsfeld's focus back then?! What kind of fantasy world have these people created in their minds?

    August 29, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. JimDPT

    Who the heck cares what this meglomaniac says! Why does he even get any press time? He was one of the architects of a lie that cost thousands of lives iin Iraq and he says our President has not made a case.Shut up we do not care what you have to say!

    August 29, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. John

    Rummy wants to hold off until he's convinced the Syrians will use the glaringly obvious WMDs against the US, or he and his ilk can convince US citizens that they're next. As long as it is just Syrians that have been the victims, stay away. That about sum it up, Rummy?

    August 29, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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