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. Kat

    Seriously? Of all people to say Obama is wrong – when clearly the UN has PROOF of what's going on – pretty sure RUMMY didn't have all the proof that he and Bush said they had – and are we so dumb to think Syria doesn't know we have carriers sitting off the coast waiting to do something – really?

    August 29, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. Rusty

    REALLY DONALD? How in the world do these people get up everyday and look at themselves in the mirror? One of the architects of the biggest world lie that was ever told is criticizing another administration handling of foreign policy. Wow, these guys never cease to amaze!

    August 29, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. bisusinha

    I wonder why the Prestigious Network like CNN even get the lairs and corrupt people to come to make idiotic comments like DUMMY RUMMY???????

    August 29, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. Dr Matrix

    Perhaps Obama hasn't made the case that this clown claims he should because he is looking for facts and verification. Something Rumsfield didn't feel the need for during his rush to war. They just claimed you're for us or against us, I guess that would mean now he's against us.

    August 29, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. Running Bare

    Rummy never made a case either, so he shouldn't call the kettle ... oh, wait.

    August 29, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Larry

    Who the hell is this blithering idiot to criticize ANYONE. He and his pal George should both be under arrest for Crimes Against Humanity!

    August 29, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. VEW2012

    I guess anyone can make a case if they base their case on lies. Gee ... Rummy where were those non-existent WMD you stated were in Iraq? This man should never speak to Americans, he has no foreign policy credibility.

    August 29, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. JD

    Just.Unbelievable. Guy must have jumbo balls to make statements like this. How he and Cheney could be so consistently wrong boggles the imagination.

    August 29, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Bad Dog

    Rumsfeld has zero credibility. Don't ask his opinion about anything, CNN. However, it is also true that the Administration's Syria policy is a shambles. We didn't need Rumsfeld to tell us that though.

    August 29, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. Ladont

    What is wrong with Obama? He should call a press conference and explain how Syria has nuclear warheads pointing at the US and Israel. They also have a tractor trailer moving around the country with chemical warheads aimed at NYC. Then Obama and Kerry should talk about the Coalition of the Willing who have joined the US (even though there's only one or two countries).

    August 29, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. Stza

    War Criminal. Comparing this situation to what is going on in Syria doesnt work Mr Rumsfeld. You are irrelevant at this point

    August 29, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. poobeast

    The vacuum left by the Bush era does not share it's values or interests. Rumsfeld claims. I say, thank God for that.

    August 29, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. Willard's Hidden Tax Returns

    There's no shock and awe here. Rummy should know all about making the case for an attack...kind of like he, Dubya, Dick, and Condi did with the Iraq war....oops. Donny should focus on finding those WMDs before that mushroom cloud hits us.
    Donald really ought to recognize that he is uniquely unqualified to weigh in on any matters regarding going to war, since his rear end should already be in jail for war crimes.

    August 29, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Bobbie

    Rumsfeld??? Really??? How is his opinion even relevant considering his record???? Wow!

    August 29, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  15. moderate

    Send Gas Masks and Medicine - NOT Bombs. Bombs will only kill more children and civilians.

    August 29, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. Curt

    Maybe Rumsfeld and Bush could teach Obama how to lie and say they have WMDs to justify it.

    August 29, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. BoulderBill

    Nothing like seeking the opinion of someone who lied to justify, not just an attack, but a war. CNN should ask what Kim Jong-un thinks.

    August 29, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. Jibs

    CNN, I wish you would have had the courage to take this interview and make the headline "Is Rumsfeld a hypocrite?" Instead you played it safe and let the debate exist nowhere except your little comment section. Speaking of which, every single comment is appalled that you even interviewed him. TAKE A HINT, CNN!

    August 29, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. Boisepoet

    I think Rumsfeld meant to say "Obama hasn't falsified the justification for a Syrian attack"...cause after all, what does this guy know about legitimate reasons for war.

    That being said...I object to the US involving itself any further or attacking Syria, whether as a coalition or unilaterally.

    August 29, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  20. WestsacVoice

    While I agree that the president has not made his case of why we should be part of a civil war, someone should have asked Rumsfeld during the interview how we can make that statement after using false and incomplete facts to justify invading Iraq. How could he again use the same rational of WMD as justification to invade Syria, linking them to Iran's nuclear program. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

    August 29, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  21. VEW2012

    1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and Bacteriological Methods of Warfare. Since no one should be using chemical weapons, and it is obvious that someone did use them in Syria. Regardless of who used them it should be up to the world community to destroy them, and do it ASAP before they can be used again.

    Rumsfeld, should not even be approached for his views on this subject....he simply is not credible.

    August 29, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. TSCOTT

    Oh Rummy...still a moron after all these years

    August 29, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. Louie

    Who cares what this piece of * war criminal thinks!

    August 29, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. Michael

    Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld – have you seen what you have done? I suggest these War Criminals enjoy their retirement with some international travel. Have you seen what you have done?

    August 29, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. Fritz Hohenheim

    Yep, Obama, you're pretty good at lying, but take a hint from Pinocchio here, he is way better than you at instigating phony wars!

    August 29, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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