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. tom l.

    What's so funny is that everyone on the left is so fixated on the messenger here rather than the message. At all costs, the lefties will berate someone who just said that he doesn't feel that we should be going in to Syria. Oh, how the tides have changed. Now, it appears that the left is all gung-ho to go into Syria.

    Rumsfield, who I am no fan of whatsoever, just said we shouldn't strike militarily and the lefties here castigate him. Yeah, that makes sense. Zero intellectual honesty. No criticism for the administration and their desire to go into ANOTHER country. Disgusting.

    August 29, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  2. Andreas

    From a purely blunt military stand point Rummy is right. Obama has not made a case or outlined a plan of action and the wait and see approach in the midst of a military buildup makes US look really the leadership void he is talking about. Although I voted for him I must admit, Obama has been average in his Foreign Policy. Then again, Rummy is not exactly the right person, who was instrumental in launching two costly and disastrous wars in a region he and his cohorts assessed very little about, to be talking about this. He was not exactly a stellar SoD!!!

    August 29, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  3. tom l.

    "REPUBLICAN HOT AIR out of a big windbag, was he justified in shooting his friend with a shotgun? Was he justified fabricating false evidence and then forcing the only African American on their staff to go read it to the world, even though they new it was a lie."

    So Condeleeza Rice isn't African American?

    August 29, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. krapit

    Pot Kettle, Don

    August 29, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. Phyllis Gwendoline Williams

    Beware of those pushing you into wars ("Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars") (2nd Chronicles 16: 9)

    August 29, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. tom l.

    Classic. So it appears to me from all of the comments about what an idiot that Rumsfeld is (which I don't disagree with) that the lefties are ready to go in to Syria. Way to compromise your morals, lefties. Good job.

    August 29, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  7. Bamabegone!

    @Marie MD – "Who let this war criminal out of his Dracula coffin?" Typical libspeak - such a "NICE" person, this Marie and her ilk - always "so big" on the constructive end of comments (NOT) . . . Yuck!

    August 29, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  8. tildejac

    Republicans have had 2 lines of attack prepared. One to criticize Obama if he attacks Syria and one if he does not. It is great that they are showing such leadership.

    August 29, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. Tom

    Right. Because attacking Iraq went so well, we really ought to be listening to what Rumsfeld has to say. This is just another case of partisan bickering. Whatever Obama wants must be wrong in the eyes of Republicans. I don't know if bombing Syria is justified, or the correct course of action. But it would sure be nice if the people who govern this country could talk these issues through in a rational way. We might make better-informed decisions if everything didn't boil down to political posturing.

    August 29, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  10. Larry in Houston

    I think 'ol Rumsfeld is saying : Obama wants to wait a couple years or more, to "weigh" out all the options" and maybe in 3 or 4 years, finally decide to resort to "diplomacy" LOL – – what else can a community organizer do ? LOL

    August 29, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. jefferson906

    Rumsfield should be in prison. Can't wait for Darth Cheney to chime in now.

    August 29, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. beevee

    What is this nut case talking about president Obama not amking a case to justify war on Syria. That is because he does not want to lie through his teeth like the previous administration did (that ncludes Rumsfeld) to justify war. He wants to get the facts straight before sending our troops harms way unlike Rumsfeld and Bush Administration. Shut up Mr. Rumsfeld, no one wants your opinion.

    August 29, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  13. Brussell

    So the war criminal is telling the idiot in chief how to go about telling lies and attacking a sovereign nation??

    August 29, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. G

    what he means is lie mr president .and watch your bank account grow –so people get killed so what

    August 29, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. Frank

    this man should be in prison for his lies in regards to the Iraq war and he now wants to talk about justification...

    August 29, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  16. Bazinga

    Amazing the hypocrisy of this fool! The architect of the Iraq war, he's a War Criminal

    August 29, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. Ariely Shein

    Experience is a great teacher.

    World leaders- stop the Shia Islamist Iran and the Suni equivalent Muslim brotherhood theocrats (mother of terrorism).
    If German Nazi (DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED) party was outlawed because their ideology in 1934,50 million lives saved.
    The lesson:outlaw dangerous ideologies or stop then as soon as they control a country>
    The human life losses and destruction will be insignificant relative to the huge cost after they accumulate power:
    Islamist Iran ideology:
    Iranian leader's declaration&documents
    *The Final Armageddon war between Iran Islamist and the world will be soon
    *The war result will be the worldwide enforcement of Shia type Islamic mighty caliphate.
    *End of democracy and liberalism
    *Denying human rights and woman equality.
    *Main terror supporter.
    *USA is the big satin.
    Muslim brotherhood:
    * The beginnings of all of the religious terrorism that we are witnessing today were in the MB ideology"–Kuweit Minister, Al-Ruba
    *“Their work in America is a grand Jihad in,destroying Western civilization from within"
    Federal court documents on the trial of the Holy Land Foundation of the MB
    *A Muslim can come closer to Allah by jihad against all non-Muslims, in every possible manner"–Ahmad 'Abd MB leader
    *the mastermind of the 9/11 was Khalid Muhammad a MB member
    * Ben Laden was a Muslim martyr" MB leaders

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me !

    August 29, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Media Madness

    So you can't disagree with WHAT is said and attach WHO said it instead? Point is.. WHY is it ok for this administration to just attack a country for no reason at all?
    You really need to snap out of that false reality that you're constructing. The Obama administration has not attacked Syria "for no reason at all." In fact, Syria has not been attacked at all.

    August 29, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  19. Joi Gibson

    As opposed to laying out lies and misinformation to justify invading and occupying Iraq, and then mismanaging that war, so much so that even W asked you to leave your post. You have the credibility of a fart in the wind – at lease a silent deadly fart has staying power. Please go away!!!

    August 29, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. Thezel

    Pot calling the kettle black. Wow!

    August 29, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  21. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, and Blair must be the least qualified people to comment on US (& UK) intervention in the ME or anywhere!

    But Yes, Rumsfeld is right in the sense that the Obama admin. hasn't made the case for impact of US security with Assad using Chemical weapons.

    In fact there can't be the SLIGHTEST CASE on impact to US Security, unless we cook up one!

    On the contrary, there will be a much greater negative impact on the US., Europe, Israel and most importantly even on Syria, with a lot more deaths resulting from our escalations, than the 350 or so killed by Assad's (or is the Rebels?) chemical weapons!

    August 29, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  22. Timzrage

    Spoken by someone who really knows a thing or two about not justifying an attack.

    August 29, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  23. ron

    He has a point on why be so public with it, but I think we are trying to tell Russia and Iran to get their people out before there is a strike.

    An interesting chess game if anything!

    August 29, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. Bazinga

    He is GASSING to DEATH innocent woman and children. At least twice, if not 15 times (according to U.K. analysis). Should we wait until GENOCIDE (and empower Iran with our inaction as a by-product). This is not a LEFT or RIGHT issue, it is a issue of doing the right thing. Have you seen the pictures of the bodies of little CHILDREN lined up? I thought Americans say they are "compassionate"????

    August 29, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. Sniffit

    Oh look, brand new known unknowns for the list of things Rummy hasn't the slightest clue about.

    "just said we shouldn't strike militarily"

    No he didn't. Read it again.

    August 29, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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