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

    So we basically have one lying criminal telling another lying criminal that he should clarify his intent in starting the next war.

    Sounds like just another day in Washington. Do gotta say though I love how people in the comments here still think bush is president and can somehow overlook the fact that Obama is doing the same exact crap as Bush! Guess there's no point in pointing out all the top level DEMS and GOP are riding in the same clown car to support this crap like they always do. Funny how their brainwashed Dem and GOP supporters can never figure this stuff out.

    August 29, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Sunnysmom

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHA. Is he for real? While I do not believe we should bomb Syria, they didn't have evidence to make the case for Iraq either, and yet they conveniently fabricated some. Thanks Rummy, Cheney, Scooter et. al. for lying your way into a war with Iraq, for ruining Valerie Plame's career and the 4,488 dead American soldiers all for lies and manipulations. .not to mention now Americans don't trust anything our government says when it comes to waging war.

    August 29, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Flagship, NC

    Rumsfeld is the worst Secy of Defense in U.S. history, should keep his mouth shut. Bush 43 has the sense to lay low.

    August 29, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. adoptedusa

    Look who is talking! Pot calling the kettle black!

    August 29, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. Dorie Baker

    Setting back the frontiers of chutzpah!

    August 29, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. R5642

    Huh? What? Rummy said what? Where did you hear that? Oh, on the internet. Well, it must be true then because you can't put anything untrue on the internet. And this from the man with more failed wars under his belt than any other living human. Remember Vietnam? Remember Iraq? Yup, that was Rummy. Maybe we can bring him back from the dead in a few years to get us into yet another quagmire.

    August 29, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Considerring how much Obama does all the same things as Bush it's little wonder that people still think the Shrub is our president. Obama, Bush, Rummy, and Hagel are all probably going to get together for a beer to go along with their syrian barbecue. And of course spare no expense for it will be on the citizens' dime.

    August 29, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. carol

    Rumfield the man the started the WMD debate. The Republicans will never stop blaming Obama for the things they did wrong.

    August 29, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  9. frozen one

    Rumsfeld's opinion is filed under "news" because.....??

    August 29, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. Steve, New York City

    Rumsfeld even has the audacity to opine on this topic? The guy must be living on another planet.

    August 29, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. Patines

    Somewhere this crap is saying something that could be taken into consideration, yes it's truth that providing all the details to the enemy is not very smart and we never get anything coming back from the other side, but again, we don't know Rumsfeld's agenda at this time.

    August 29, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. happyinvegas

    Like the case that was made for going into Iraq?

    August 29, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. John Webber

    He still has the gut to say that? He will go down the history as a traitor to this nation. He with his criminal circle used Iraq war to make profit. He should not be allowed to opine.

    August 29, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. oke

    Why is this war criminal being interviewed?

    August 29, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Tom

    Unbelievable hypocrisy. Remember the "shock and awe" threats? ("Iraq Faces Massive U.S. Missile Barrage" (CBS News, January 24, 2003.) Two months before it happened Rumsfeld was describing the war plan. Oh, and the "evidence" of WMD's? Remember Rumsfeld personally talking about the Aluminum tubes from Judith Miller's bogus NYT article?

    Charitably, the nicest spin that can be put on this is that Rumsfeld was wrong and misinformed then, and he still is now. I would have hoped he'd learned to keep his big mouth shut though.

    August 29, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. Mike G

    John McCain was correct when he said, "former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will be remembered as one of the worst in history." Didn't Don Rumsfeld want to bomb Iraq after 9/11 because there were "more targets there"? Didn't Don Rumsfeld give Sadam a timeline for an invasion of Iraq? Why is anyone giving Don Rumsfeld a public forum?

    August 29, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. GnatB

    Telling them the U.S. is going to blow up their facilities with Cruise Missiles is Mindless, misdirection, or bluster.

    I'd hope one of the latter two.

    (That said, it guess it could also be bragging/show of force? "we're going to call our shots, and there's *still* not a darn thing you can do about it.")

    August 29, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. Thomas

    Rumsfeld's opinion is irrelevant ,
    We will be greeted as liberators , the war will be over in days, and the Syrian people will pay us back the cost of the war in lamb kabobs .

    I cant wait for the refugees to help rebuild of inner cites .

    August 29, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. Bob May

    Like anyone gives a rip what Rumsfeld says.

    August 29, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. dsangiovanni

    Maybe it is because he doesn't want to lie that time back we remember...and you should be sitting answering for...

    August 29, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. gisthatright

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

    Like the people Iraq didn't know you wanted to bomb them before the war. Rumsfeld, your are mindless.

    August 29, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  22. kevin3g

    Rumsfeld is a serial liar and war criminal. Why does CNN treat these frauds and criminals with such obsequious deference?This degenerate should be in jail.

    August 29, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. Darren

    Rumsfeld to Obama..."You idiot, if you are going to bomb a nation without any evidence or reason you need to do it without telling anyone!". While this is probably the dumbest, most hypocritical thing I've heard in a while, I can't say it surprises me.

    August 29, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. Peacenik

    1...2...3...4 We don't want Obama and Rummy's war.

    August 29, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. rudy

    sorry rumsfeld,
    any excuse you made in going after saddam pales in comparison the the situation of syria gassing its people continually. kinda like your justification that saddam gassed the kurds you recall?
    and no, there is not the US interests ($) in this situation like there was with the OIL of iraq.

    August 29, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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