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. LT Fang

    Coming from Rumsfeld, the message has lost all credibility.

    August 29, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. Government Waste Rules

    Whatsamatter Rummie, Halliburton not going to make enough money if we bomb Syria?

    August 29, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  3. moonstar1953

    Really? We are supposed to care what Rumsfeld thinks? Isn't he the one who helped mastermind the Iraq and Afghanistan wars based on known falsehoods? Go back into retirement, Rummy.

    August 29, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Rob

    POTUS is being open to the US citizens on what possible actions could take place, what targets may be listed, and actually sharing what information they have, and this guy is going to say Obama is in the wrong? Crazy. If he was doing the opposite then he would till be taking flack for not being open or "transparent" with the country.

    August 29, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. NO

    We seriously love violence and war... Why are we even thinking about ANOTHER war... We've been at war for over a decade.. We can't afford it.. STOP.. Not one US service member should be sent anywhere near this place.. We are broke can killing each other at home.. NO!

    August 29, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. Lewis

    The single biggest failure in American Politics has an opinion?

    August 29, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. voiceinthewind

    Put Dumsfeld in prison where he belongs. Don't let America get sucked into another piece of Mid-east unrest.. Let the Jews deal with the BS. The Sheet Hole they have created is their mess and let them live in it. America is tired of getting involved in the murder and mayhem they create. Let them fend for themselves. Stay out of Syria and stop sending money to Terrorist in the mid-east beginning with the Jews.

    August 29, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. Coney

    Rumsfeld only thinks we should attack a country when the have imaginary Weapons of Mass Destruction, like in Iraq. When a country actually uses real Weapons of Mass Destruction, like in Syria, then the coward Rumsfeld doesn't want to do anything.

    Why do we even list to what these Republican Nutsies have to say anyway. They're Nutsies.

    August 29, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. Mark J. Semer

    For a man the sent troop into Iraq because he thought there were WMD's, this is very strange statement. It was OK to put troops on the ground on bad intelligence, but not strike from the air when there is overwhelming evidence that chemical weapons have been used.

    August 29, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Sam

    Did Rumsfeld, just say that there's no case to attack Syria? Wasn't he arguing that the reason he, Bush and Cheney invaded Iraq was because Iraq has chemical weapons?!?!? For all those that still don't believe that the Iraq war was a scam and was meant for alternative reasons, whether thats oil, money for military industry, rebuilding or other financial theft basically theres your proof. They were concerned about Iraq having or using chem weapons while Syria HAS and has USED chem weapons. Shouldn't it be the same arguement that we should go in there to secure those weapons? This blatant hypocrisy and double talk proves that the the Bush administration lied and got thousands of people killed for some other motive that only a few benefit from.

    August 29, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Gary

    This guy helps start a war because he thinks Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, which they did not, but wants to wait when Syria actually uses weapons of mass destruction. Politics at its best, with no common sense involved.

    August 29, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Obama may not have "made the case" but at least there are actual WMDs involved not the imagery ones he and Bush talked about.

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

    This guy should be ashamed of himself after the rushing and errroneous decision to attack and invade Irak; but as any proud Republican, he does not reflect on the wrong decisions they made during their time in public service.

    August 29, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. Sam

    NOW he says that Iran should be the focus? Why wasn't it the focus when the Bush clown crew was in office? Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush are criminals that need to be incarcerated.

    August 29, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. Dave

    that's right...Obama hasn't accused them of having WMD...good catch Rummy!

    August 29, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. jeffc6578

    This man who helped lead the charge into a war of choice in Iraq that has caused the US dearly in lives and treasure just needs to stfu and crawl back under his slimy rock. What a piece of work.

    August 29, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  17. Quixote

    I thought i was n the onion or dailycurrant for a second. Seriously? Cnn is giving voice to the war criminal who helped build a body pf lies to go to war, was wholly unprpard for the war once it started, then committed dozens if not hndreds of war cimes during that war! Seriously?
    Rumsfeld cannot lave the US because he will be arrested and sent to the Hague for trial, and yet cnn thinks his opinion matters? Or are they just turning into fox lite?

    August 29, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  18. da

    He didn't say he was against bombing, he means the president hasn't made the case to the American slaves yet. Nothing an old fashioned press conference won't take care of.

    August 29, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. Richard Getzkow

    No, it's good that CNN put this story up, lest we forgot Rumsfeld's part in totally discrediting the United States. Afghanistan = made sense. Irag = thank you Rumsfeld, you fool.

    August 29, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    If you think the world is going to just sit by and allow Russia to, in essence, sanction Syria's use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians, I'd be more concern with YOUR sense of reality.
    Exactly. That's exactly what scares me. Conservatives are too willing to embrace a conflict with anyone, particularly the Russians. You sound worse than Rumsfeld.

    I think you need to do your homework on the Syria/Russia relations before you can speak about this with any sort of authority. The Russians have far too much invested in the Syria military to allow the US to put their port at risk. Anyone who thinks that every fighter or helicopter on the ground in Syria belongs to Syria is fooling themselves.

    The Russians have significant amounts of hardware in Syria. You can expect a Russian response if the US begins blowing up their stuff, too. Attempting surgical strikes into Syria will be nothing like Libya or Iraq. Anyone who doesn't consider the Russians is a fool, IMHO.

    August 29, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. Mark

    Sure nuff, he hasn't made a case to the American people. Why would any thinking individual even assume that any type of attack wouldn't lead to a long term involvement? Then we'd have to spend billions to rebuild their country.

    August 29, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. TKO

    "Hasn't made the case"?

    This, from a man who invaded another country after most definitely NOT making a case for it? Whose only evidence was lies and fabrication? Why would ANYONE listen to this smug, deceitful, egomaniacal human being?

    August 29, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  23. 1alien1

    the murderer of thousands of u.s. troops in iraq and afghanistan is still a pompus a-s. i guess he will go to hell believing he was right

    August 29, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  24. David

    These comment boards usually have people from both sides of an issue making their case. It says a lot that virtually everybody here (including me) thinks this man is a moron who should not be listened to. There are very few things all Americans agree on. But they do agree that this man - along with Dick Cheney - should shut up and disappear.

    Maybe his strategy is just to make Bush look good. In comparison, you have to respect Bush for keeping his mouth shut and not bashing Obama every chance he gets.

    August 29, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. Nino

    Rumsfeld, who???

    August 29, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
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