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

    Thanks for covering this CNN - this is exactly the kind of expert I want to hear from regarding invading other countries! Hopefully, you can land an exclusive sitdown with Colin Powell next. That would be super.

    August 29, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  2. Bart

    Wow – he made his case to go to war in Iraq with lies. It takes a lot of gall to now throw stones about another administration not correctly making the case.

    August 29, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Bob Ramos

    To the public, Rumsfeld is a war criminal. No way can he be justified in voicing any opinion on any foreign matter.

    August 29, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. DNA

    STFU you old liar. I don't even care if you're right or wrong, you're a LIAR.

    August 29, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. CDub58

    Although I have mixed opinions on this very serious matter, the article's headline made me laugh out loud! I truly thought the article was going to be satirical. It must have taken tremendous internal strength for him to say that with a totally straight face.

    August 29, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. Gypsy Jew

    I think we should send an atom bomb into the camel munchers breakfast bowl.

    August 29, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. CJ

    This guy is ignorant. In Jan. 2003, a Dutch television reporter asked Donald Rumsfeld why America's European allies were not more supportive of our calls to hold Saddam Hussein to account. "You're thinking of Europe as Germany & France, " Don said. "I don't. I think that's old Europe."
    Colin Powell was furious. He was trying to persuade the Germans & French to join our cause at the United Nations, and he felt Donald Rumsfeld had crossed into his lane in a way that complicated his diplomatic mission.

    August 29, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Westy

    Rumsfeld is a "known unknown" in my mind. The world's most articulate idiot has no business or credibility after the Iraq WMD farce that he helped invent.

    August 29, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. Francisco Decastro

    Who is this old man? Isn't he a murderer?

    August 29, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. EDDIE MARRERO

    Rumsfeld is a Joke, who doe he think he is giving advise as to who we go to war with, he was the architect of the worst mistake in US history as far as invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and had no WMD weapons,

    August 29, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. z&hcats

    I'm shocked to hear Rumsfeld by saying justified in war.

    August 29, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  12. Rembrant

    Any statement from from this traitor should be considered misinformation at best. I always wonder why he and Cheney are not in The Hague facing war crimes, and why they aren't facing a firing squad here in the US for treason to their country.

    August 29, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. Wayne

    Wow, that's rich!!

    August 29, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. heywood

    “There really hasn’t been any indication from the administration as to what our national interest is with respect to this particular situation,”

    Ummmmm, chemical weapons in the hands of terrorists for $400, ALex?

    August 29, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. Paula

    Rumsfeld lead the hawk charge against Iraq with lies and deception. Bush, Chaney, and Rumsfeld, implemented the first ever US preemptive attack on another government. Rumsfeld was for torture and said it was ok to use waterboarding. Rumsfeld's defense department policies had a negative effect on our military reaction on 911 too. Him, Bush and Chaney started the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and stayed in those country's for years, costing us our economic crash in 2007, because of the huge cost of wars. It soured the American publics thoughts toward war and now when something legitimate comes along, people don't want us to get involved.

    August 29, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. chainyanker

    Rumsfeld in early 2002 just as the Iraq War was starting was asked how much the war was going to cost: '50 billion tops'.

    Current projections are over $3 trillion.

    August 29, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. John Doe

    Are you kidding me?

    August 29, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. A traveler

    Why is this little man getting any press whatsoever? Let's not have any more stories about Rummy until his war trial starts.

    August 29, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    "Obama hasn't yet justified Syria attack" Um, Rumsfeld still hasn't justified his Iraq invasion either. They changed the reason we were even in Iraq about five different times after the initial lies that lead up to it. This clown should be criticizing Obama from behind bars.

    August 29, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  20. UrbanMike

    Ah the musings of a bitter old man and memories of his having helped orchestrate the deaths of so many innoncent Americans. The audactiy.

    August 29, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  21. Robert

    "Obama hasn't yet justified Syria attack" Interesting he should say that, because Rumsfeld still hasn't justified his Iraq invasion either. They changed the reason we even went into Iraq about five different times after the initial lies they told that led up to it. This clown should be criticizing Obama from behind bars.

    August 29, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. SF

    Really, do we care what Rumsfeld thinks is "justification" for war? He and his team used mere speculation about the possibility that Iraq might have WMD along with dubious evidence of mobile laboratories to justify a full scale invasion. There is ample evidence that chemical weapons were actually used in this conflict with devastating consequences. What remains is to convince the world of the responsible party. Because of the spurious charges made by Rumsfeld et al, our ability to make that argument on our own is severely damaged. Thanks for your opinion Rumsfeld, but go back in your hole.

    August 29, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. Chris H

    Isn't this the pot calling the kettle black?

    August 29, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  24. Steve R

    After Iraq, Rumsfeld and Cheney should be should be commenting about things from a 6 x 10 cell.

    August 29, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  25. Robert

    Interesting he should say that, because Rumsfeld still hasn't justified his Iraq invasion either. They changed the reason we even went into Iraq about five different times after the initial lies they told that led up to it. This clown should be criticizing Obama from behind bars.

    August 29, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
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