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. Jan v

    Like anyone would listen to anything this man has to say. He's an authority on nothing and just doesn't get it, he needs to quietly go away. Notice I said quiety.

    August 29, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. Fish

    Now the President should listen to this moron because he knows something about unjustified strikes, wars, swine flu shots, etc... Rummy struck at Iraq after reading a cartoon about Saddam I'll bet, the President should listen to him and then do just the opposite, experience matters. Most folks don't remember Rummy's first debacle convincing President Ford, the swine flu would kill everyone in America. I was one of his victims getting immunized as a kid in Baltimore. I've had MS since 1989, coincidence maybe but with this dude, I'm not too sure, it did help President Ford lose his reelection though for sure!!!

    August 29, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. Leslie

    Rumsfeld is himself a MASTER at deception and lying so why is he saying anything at all? Oh, I can only imagine that he is missing the lime light and probably hoping to be invited by the Obama Administration to consult on what to do about Syria. Whatever his motive you can bet it is SELF SERVING.

    August 29, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. Mike

    How can the President both be revealing to much information, but not revealed enough information to justify an attack?

    August 29, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  5. Lenny Pincus

    I'd rather hear what a rock has to say than this dung beetle's thoughts.

    August 29, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. James Terminiello

    Without question, a gut-busting moment of hilarity in a otherwise tragic situation. Rumsfeld, the "architect" of one of America's most unnecessary wars, questions Obama's actions. Sadly, a missle strike at Syria would be pointless. What is clear in all this muddle is that U.S. foreign policy does not seem to be run by the White House. Barack, who is pulling the strings here?

    August 29, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. Dawn Kieballs

    This story was posted under the wrong category. It was supposed to go under Entertainment/Comedy not Politics.

    August 29, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  8. justbeamensch

    Rumsfeld, like his cronies Wolfowitz, Cheney and Rice, should be in prison for war crimes. For this reason they might want to keep their mouths shut.

    August 29, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. justbeamensch

    Like Al Pacino's character said in "Glengary Glen Ross", " He (Rumsfeld) shouldn't be allowed in the vicinity of men who are trying to make a living.

    August 29, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. John in CA

    This critique from a man who collaborated with co-conspirator neo-cons to invent Iraq's WMD to justify an illegal war and discredit anyone including a CIA operative, agent, and wife of a US ambassador who found fault with the Bush/Cheney conspiracy. Give it a break Rummy, we're not your Dummy.

    August 29, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  11. Rick

    The thing I respect about George Bush Jr is that he keeps his mouth shut about this President. However, these washed up war mongering, old political hacks that never had what it took to be President are always giving their opinion like anyone wants to here it. Rumsfeld was a failure along with Dicky C. They both ought to Just go away and enjoy their government pensions and shut the he'll up.

    August 29, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  12. JIM

    Pretty much all the comments I'd read treat Rumsfeld as someone who has no credibility to say what he says. In fact, he lied about the reason for Iran. Ok. Now..what really bothers me is that CNN, MSNBC, FOXNEWS and other media outlets present his comments as legitimate "news" that's coming from a respected authority. The real blame on this lies with the media execs deciding to give Rumsfeld time and space to offer his opinions.If the media ignored him (and Cheney too), maybe they'd realize they aren't as important to our country as they think they are.

    August 29, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  13. Where did he give this interview? Oh,,,Oh yeah.

    Cheney's stab at it tomorrow.

    August 29, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. XanJester

    Rumsfeld saying that Obama hasn't made the case? Yeah lets ask Rumsfeld. He's a great example of someone who can make a case for destroying a country for any reason.

    August 29, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  15. AJS

    Go back to Bed, Rumsfeld. You of all people have no right to speak.

    August 29, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |

    At first glance, using missiles would seem to be the best way of restoring order in Syria. But how will that get both sides to start talking to each other. It will only heighten the tension. Who cares what Rumsfeld says. He's not defense secretary any more. We have to look at this logically. That whole region is in an uproar. This smells like real trouble for the United States if we go in there. I'm a conservative and I say stay away. Seek another way.

    August 29, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  17. Alben

    Our Republic is facing a serious challenge. I cannot find any patriotism in undermining the diplomatic and military leaders at this time. His record gives him no standing to be critical of the current government.

    August 29, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. uos_spo6

    Cue the Twilight Zone theme. It just got all creepy awkward up in here.

    August 29, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  19. Kozmo

    Love watching the libs grip over this guy...crack me up. You're right...Rummy doesn't have much credibility, but either do you if you believe anything Obama has to say. He's got NO CLUE how to handle international affairs. Hands down, the WORST Pres EVER.

    August 29, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  20. AgrippaMT

    Rumsfeld has zero credibility on Syria, particularly because he is an unindicted war criminal in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He should just shut up.

    August 29, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  21. Belseth

    Wow! That takes some Herculean nerve for Donald Rumsfeld to say Obama hasn't made a case for Syria. I'm against going into Syria or even off shore launches but for Darth Rumsfeld who pushed for the Iraq war over rumors to say Obama hasn't made his case is beyond hypocrisy.

    August 29, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  22. chris

    I had to check like 5 times to make sure this isn't a story from "The Onion". I think Rumsfeld is just playing with us now.

    August 29, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  23. FactsRBad

    Don – you were a master at fabricating proof of bogus threats – help the Pres out here – wont ya?

    August 29, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  24. gahh

    Liar Liar, pants on fire, you worthless low life murderer.

    August 29, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  25. Bob 2

    Ok that was Rumsfeld's take on it. But how does Sarah Palin or Lindsay Lohan feel about it? Come on CNN, DO YOUR JOB!

    August 29, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
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