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. ShutUp

    He blames Hillary already. This is another of Republican's plan to set the stage to tarnish Hillary come 2016 presedential election.

    August 29, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. skarphace

    You are no longer the secretary of defense, Rumsfeld. Stop acting like you are. We do not want your warmongering ways any longer. If we did, we would have elected McCain. Go away.

    August 29, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. lt_murgen

    Everyone keeps talking about Bush and the WMD in Iraq. Keep in mind that we didn't find ANY WMD in Iraq. None. Yet only a few years before, Saddam used chemical weapons against his own people, the Kurds, as late as 1991- after the first Gulf War. So in the period between the wars, Iraq clearly had the capability to make and use chemical weapons. Yet none were found later. Where did the rest of his stockpile go?

    August 29, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. DocHollywood

    "Obama hasn't made his case" said Rumsfeld. "After all, I haven't seen anyone in his administration go to the UN and hold up a little vial and some pictures of lunch trucks on the move and say they're portable chemical labs and launchers like we did. Did I say that? I did. Did I mean that? I did. Did I come across as stupid? I did. Do I love asking myself questions and then answering them? I do. Am I irrelevant? I most certainly am."

    August 29, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Ananth

    This old man has no shame let alone moral authority!

    August 29, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Riff McQuiggins

    I was unaware that anyone still believed that Don Rumsfeld has any credibility...Thank you for weighing in, Mr. Rumsfeld, your opinion is irrelevant. Justification is a word that clearly only holds meaning when it comes to his opposition's consideration of the best course of action. Personally, I think this is a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario. If we do nothing, the radicals rally vulnerable Syrians against us for our lack of intervention. If we intervene, the radicals rally vulnerable Syrians against us for pressing our Western culture and agenda upon them. I certainly do not envy the decision makers right now. Either way, thousands of people are still dying there by any number of means, whether it be mortars, bombs, gunfire, or chemical attacks and Assad clearly plans to see this through to the end, even if that means his death.

    August 29, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. Jacob

    Rumsfeld knew of the thin protective layer sheeting HumVees were made of, but did nothing until pressure from the outside forced him to see how vulnerable U.S. troops were to IED's and AK47's.... He is a mastermind of deceit and dark shadows

    August 29, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. Eddie B

    who even cares what he says can not believe cnn even allow this.

    August 29, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. thedude

    Haha the irony of this guy even opening his mouth.

    August 29, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Jakes_Momma

    Funny thing about this piece, it's Rums-failed. Not even going to bother reading it!

    August 29, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  11. jeo bloe

    This coming from the man (if you can call him that) that decided to attack Iraq – knowing full well Iraq did not have any weapons of mass destruction. Let's see where did that get us ?

    August 29, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. sbsdf

    perhaps he should drum up some entirely fake "intelligence" like rumsfeld and bush did to make the case?

    August 29, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. jon wilson

    Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney are two of the most dangerous men in history. Why anyone would support either is dumbfounding.

    August 29, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. MNClownfactory

    You see he is upset that Obama hasnt lied about weapons that dont' exist and then play the "UnAmerican" card to bully congress in to war. Donald Rumsefeld is nothing more than a partisan hack, he is out of government for a good reason. Leave it to Faux Noise to even give this guy a microphone.

    August 29, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. SneadHern

    If anyone knows about not making a case before jumping into military action it the Don and Dick clown circus.

    August 29, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. USAPeasant

    Wow been a while since we heard from Ratfink Rumsfeld. It's probably a result of excellent propaganda, but for some reason this makes me want to watch that cartoon show Lil Bush. Lol they should bring back the Lil Bush show and add in Lil Obama and Lil Biden to team up with Lil Bush and Lil Rummy in their whimsical adventures of illogic and turning our country into a circus.

    August 29, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. Myron Gilbreath

    I do not see how these these misfits can raise their voices publicly after what they did to the nation during the Bush Wars. Some of the worst leadership in History.

    August 29, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. Uncle Benny

    Most people today wouldn't remember this, but at one time what are now called Weapons of Mass Destruction went by the much more descriptive term Chemical-Biological-Radiological weapons, or CBR. CBR also stands for Cheney-Bush-Rumsfeld. Now THERE's a weapon of mass destruction – destruction of nations, countless lives, economies, and US credibility around the world.

    August 29, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  19. James

    Oh I forgot, all he has to do is fabricate evidence and tell a lie.

    August 29, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. Gman

    Did I miss something? Did Mr. Rumsfeld or W EVER hold up yellow cake uranium? My memory of his "case" for Iraq was "trust me" I know more than you do. rEALLY?

    August 29, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. Kris

    "Obama hasn't made the case for attacking Syria," says the man that sent the Secretary of State to the United Nations with a presentation full of massive lies to justify an attack on Iraq.

    August 29, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  22. nonya

    Syria has the missing weapons from Iraq. Years ago a defecting Iraqi General told us. Media outlets like CNN never covered that and let people think there were none to tarnish Bush. Now O is going to have to go in to Syria to get the WMDs. Irony

    August 29, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. Floyd

    Well Rumsfeld... Obama can do what you and your President did when you were itching for a war with shaky justification... just LIE

    August 29, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. Bunny

    Whoever is saying we have no business in Syria is totally correct whether they are GOP or DEM. Any action taken will be a failure. Cruise missile strikes are indiscriminate with civilian casualties likely – How does this Demonstrate anyting to Assad. Whatever we do – we will be hated more by both sides. Is Europe wants something done – why do they always want us to be the BAD GUYS who do it. In this case the best action – is NO ACTION. Condemn Gas attacks as Immoral but stay away from any involvement. WE ARE NOT THE " WORLDWIDE POLICE"

    August 29, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. Corey

    Why does a lying war criminal's opinion matter? And second, what Rummy is really saying is, "Obama hasn't made up enough lies and scared people enough like we did."

    August 29, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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