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. barbara

    If Obama goes solo on this... God only knows what the repercussions could be. Bomb shelters anyone? He drags us into yet another war and if we end up being bombed as a result.. well... I think we all know what will happen.

    August 29, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  2. Jeb

    Wow, when has Rumsfeld ever been right about anything?

    August 29, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. Jeff Kelly

    Gosh, Where is Hillary when we need her. Heck, we could blame some poor sap for making an antimuslim film, lock him up then tell congress to "get over it". We need Hillary.

    August 29, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  4. Jeb

    "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." –on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction

    August 29, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  5. linda balocco

    Who cares of architect Rumsfeld? I'm an architect but fortunately I make projects that make sense.

    August 29, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Are we kidding .. Anyone can say this but this man !!! of all the gall .. justify a strike , ..they didnt justify a war and an invasion. What a farce

    August 29, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  7. Sean Kurnow

    this from the guy who said there were WMD's in Iraq.....

    August 29, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  8. John the Baptist

    "It is unknowable how long that conflict [the war in Iraq] will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months." -in Feb. 2003

    August 29, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. solitcon

    who is this man

    August 29, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. Fred

    The only thing Rumsfeld ever did right was resign in disgrace.

    August 29, 2013 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  11. erik

    this is hysterical...hey Rumsfeld, ever heard that saying about not throwing stones in glass houses? nobody in the world sees you as an expert on 'justifying attacks'. please just withdraw into the mansion that the Iraq war bought you and be quiet for the rest of your days. your credibility is, shall we say, completely absent.

    August 29, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  12. sfeadmin

    What Rumsfeld is trying to say is that the Obama administration needs to concoct outrageous lies like the Bush administration did...

    August 29, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  13. Morgan

    I cant believe that man would have the ____s to even make that comment

    August 29, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  14. Chris

    Obama is either a 'jerk' of a President or he's an accomplice to the terror going around the world. Either way, he should be removed from the office by Congress.

    August 29, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  15. GB

    Yeah. Let's watch O start a war.

    August 29, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  16. Adam

    I'm pretty sure Rumsfeld is just saying Obama needs to come up with a lie before taking action. Kinda like He, Bush, and Cheney did for Iraq.

    August 29, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  17. rob

    Donald Rumsfeld? What does this pathetic war criminal have to say about anything?

    August 29, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  18. name

    "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."

    Because the bribes from defense contractors don't come if people don't go along with the lie.

    August 29, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  19. blah blah blah

    And since when does the opinion of a lying war criminal like this matter?

    August 29, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  20. aaron

    Rumsfeld is a no-nonsense and assertive leader who would have sorted Syria out. No way would Assad dare use chemical weapons under Rumsfeld's watch.

    August 29, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  21. tony

    We don't need to attack, the radicals will take over Syria and we will have a new enemy to deal with. However, something needs to be done to protect the civilians. I don't know what but if Assad used chemical weapons, then he needs to pay for his action.

    August 29, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  22. aaron

    Russia has a strongman at the helm named Putin. The USA needs an equally strong man. Rumsfeld would have been a formidable president, feared by his enemies and respected by his allies.

    August 29, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  23. Mark

    Of course there's an impact to US and world security. By not punishing the use of chem weapons then this sends a signal to the Syrians and others that chem weapons can be used in war, and that next use can be against the US military bases.

    August 29, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  24. I'mvotingforHillary

    and if President Obama DOESN'T bomb them Rummy will be back here whining about how "weak" he is for not taking action.

    August 29, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  25. RandyF

    I think he means that Obama is not going to lie to the American public like he, Bush and Cheney did.

    August 29, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
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