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. ricardo1968

    THIS time, the presence of WMD's is quite clear. Unlike last time.

    August 29, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Floyd from Illinois

    Say Don, which is preferable:

    A) A case for war that has not yet been made
    B) A case for war that was made, but which was based on lies?
    ----------------
    Which is worse?

    A) Arguing that we're in an unjustifed war that hasn't begun yet?
    B) Arguing that we're in a war based upon lies that hasn't begun yet?

    Answer: Arguing about non-existent circumstances, sometimes known as "the what ifs."

    August 29, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. Carly

    He should be in prison along with several of the other fabricators. Travel much Rummy??

    August 29, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. Sandra

    Rumsfeld thinks we American people are sheep. He thinks that we are idiots and can be fooled.
    Actually, this guy should be in Jail.

    August 29, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    No he hasn't.........but then he just does whatever he wants to, and he couldn't care less what anyone else in America thinks.

    August 29, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. thetruth

    Says the guy who led the US to war based on false pretenses....

    August 29, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Kevin

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

    By which he means Obama hasn't fabricated enough "evidence" yet, you know, Iraq style...

    August 29, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Bill

    Ok, bub. Whatever you say. Not a solid case like WMD in Iraq? This idiot has zero credibility and needs to keep his mouth shut. Thankfully, no one is paying attention to him.

    August 29, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. Moderate

    Yes, civilians and children are being gassed. So, SEND in GAS MASKS and MEDICINE. Send the antidote. Flood them with gas masks. So chemical weapons will have NO effect. No matter who uses them. Look at Israel. They're being provided with masks. They know how to prepare. We need to provide them for Syrians too. Why send in bombs to kill More Civilian and destroy their homes? That would be foolish and criminal.

    August 29, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. Indiana Voter

    It's so funny to see all the lefties on here still fighting the wars of the past, instead of focusing on the current issues. Lefties are still suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome. Can't defend this President, so lets trash the former again.

    August 29, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. Justin Wiseman

    If you really think this is about crimes against humanity, you are mistaken. this is part of the bigger war for middle east resources. If you want to talk about crimes against humanities, lets look at other parts of the African continent where people are being killed. We ignored it in Rwanda and Sudan, but of course this is forgotten. Open your eyes!

    Remember, Iraq was about removing a ruthless dictator with WMD's... What happened there? Where were the WMD's? How are those people living now?

    August 29, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  12. Bennycat

    Hasn't made the case? In the context of Donald Rumsfeld, exactly what does that mean? Hasn't lied hard enough?

    August 29, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. Tony

    At least no one doubts that Syria was using chemical weapons. In Iraq, no weapon of mass destruction was found.

    If Obama had gone to war in Iraq with trumped-up evidence, he would have been impeached by the House AND convicted by the Senate. Given how much Republicans "dreamed" of impeaching Obama, for "intended violation of law" (forget "high crimes and misdemeanors"– that does not apply to Democrats), Obama probably will be impeached whether or not he attacks Syria. Heck, Obama probably will be impeached if his health care law extends coverage to 30 million uninsured people.

    August 29, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  14. G.S. Patton

    I'll tell you what they're thinking. As always in the last thirty years, the Democrats are incompetent, unqualified persons who lie like hell to get elected and then think more about keeping their power than exercising it rightly. This is all about their trying to make themselves look good as opposed to really knowing what to do. The truth is, they have no clue. When George Bush was president, Russia loved us and was actually becoming like a brother to the USA and several of the Arab countries were warming up to us as well. But now, Russia AND China hate us as well as the entire Arab world. And Obama said he was going to restore America's respect in the world. What a crock of bull.

    August 29, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. cliff sinclair

    you must be loosing your memory. you and dubba did not justify going into Iraq. the two of you caused the most stupid war ever. in doing so you have ruined the world for everyone. you should not be giving advice with the sorry record you had in defence.

    August 29, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  16. Fred DeVuono

    Rumsfeld is a War Criminal along w/ his Buddy George Bush !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 29, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  17. kondordisqus

    Rumsfeld speaking on whether or not a President has made a viable case to go to war is a joke. "Rummy" was the front man for two military campaigns based on vapor charges and scaremongering.

    If President Obama gives his input even 2 seconds of consideration, it would be a travesty.

    August 29, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  18. Deserttrek

    iraq was a mistake, afghanistan was a mistake, libya a mistake and syria would be too. let them fight it out.

    August 29, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. Anonymous

    Might I just point out that Obama has not yet launched any attack that he'd need to justify. Never mind who's making this statement and whether or not HE had any justification to launch an attack on Iraq!

    August 29, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. Mimo

    So our enemies are killing each other in Syria (Assad regime, Al-qaeda linked rebels, Hezbollah, etc.). Why in the world would we want to step in and stop that? It's a win-win for the USA to sit this one out.

    August 29, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Larry L

    @Indiana Voter

    It's so funny to see all the lefties on here still fighting the wars of the past, instead of focusing on the current issues. Lefties are still suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome. Can't defend this President, so lets trash the former again.
    -----------------
    You may notice the interview was with Bush's Secretary of Defense! I know you wingers don't like to accept the truth – you never have. But many of today's problems are most definately from Bush's mistakes and this is particularly tough to forget – especially when the GOP has done nothing but obstruct progress for recovery. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld should be in prison – for a variety of reasons.

    August 29, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    -tom l.

    Classic. So it appears to me from all of the comments about what an idiot that Rumsfeld is (which I don't disagree with) that the lefties are ready to go in to Syria. Way to compromise your morals, lefties. Good job.
    *********************
    Sorry, but that is NOT what is being stated by the majority of liberlas on this: its the mixture of shock, disgust and irony that Rumsfeld issued the statement and gthe possibility that anyone could take him seriously. It would be like Neville Chamberlain issuing a statement against appeasing Hitler after the Munich Conferance and the invasion of Poland.

    August 29, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  23. omeany

    Rumsfeld? Really? How DARE anyone from the Bush administration say ANYTHING about how President Obama makes his case. How about you take your retirement pay and go home. Your lucky to no have been brought up on war crimes.

    August 29, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    G.S. Patton

    I'll tell you what they're thinking. As always in the last thirty years, the Democrats are incompetent, unqualified persons who lie like hell to get elected and then think more about keeping their power than exercising it rightly. This is all about their trying to make themselves look good as opposed to really knowing what to do. The truth is, they have no clue. When George Bush was president, Russia loved us and was actually becoming like a brother to the USA and several of the Arab countries were warming up to us as well. But now, Russia AND China hate us as well as the entire Arab world. And Obama said he was going to restore America's respect in the world. What a crock of bull.
    ----------------------
    You are suffering from a serious case of alternate reality syndrome. It's time to climb down from that hamster wheel and escape your hamster cage that right wing media has constructed for you.

    The Russians completely despised the Bush administration, and the feeling was mutual. Have you forgotten about Georgia? Have you forgotten about the Bush administration's attempt to build a missle shield aimed at Russia across eastern and southern Europe? Have you forgotten that the Bush administration had very little communication with the Russian government? And, you're just as delusional about China, too.

    August 29, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  25. kirk

    Patton, what world are you living in, your pure gop, transference at its best

    August 29, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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