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. barBarS

    OMG! The Irony!

    August 29, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  2. Timothy Rigney

    Looooootta nerve. :-/

    August 29, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  3. SteveinMN

    RUMSFELD, a man still searching for the Iraqui WMDs he swore were there (that weren't) has the ARROAGNCE to comment on ANYONE else's vetting?


    What a collosal elohssa!

    August 29, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. Mohammed

    If the use of chemical weapons goes unpunished then this encourages others to also pursue these types of weapons, which are banned. It also encourages others to use them. A conventional missile explosion is contained to its blast radius so all you have to do is stop as many missiles as you can. To cause enough damage you need enough missiles getting through. However with chemical missiles you need fewer to get through to cause a similar amount of (if not more) death.

    August 29, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. Jackie Rawlings

    Colin Powell went to the UN to make a case about Iraq and WMD/Mushroom Cloud and the UN knew it was a lie as Saddam had unusable WMD's that the US gave him in the 80's and that a man the US called Curveball lied. But NATO would no join in so Bush said he would go it alone. UK, Australia and Poland were paid by the US to join. UK sent 45,000, Australia 2,000 and Poland 941. Now remember NATO join the US in the 9/11 attack with 43 countries joining to help the USA. Obama will not go to War nor will he leave NATO. Rumsfeld with numerous warrants for War Crimes indicted in many countries and found guilty in Malaysia is not one to talk.

    August 29, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  6. Jon

    If Obama would have said the magic word, "Oil" Rumsfeld would be singing a different tune.

    August 29, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  7. Rob

    How can he talk about values

    August 29, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  8. Laz

    Ahhh, this guy ... The dude who orchestrated one of the biggest international blunders in American history is criticizing Obama? Isn't Obama attempting to go about his decision responsibly? Or am I mistaken ... Seems as if it was Rumsfeld in Obama's shoes, we'd already be at war with a handful of countries.

    August 29, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  9. psychicstalker

    If Obama's plans included profits from sales of Tamiflu Rumsfeld would be singing his praises. LOL

    August 29, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  10. jbuitron

    Guess what, Donald. You still haven't justified attacking Iraq, also...

    August 29, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  11. Bush trumps Obnama any day

    Obama is just another version of Bush – just a lot denser....

    August 29, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  12. Smeagel4T

    Hey look, Rummy's back trying to lobbying for a another wasted few trillion dollars for the military industrial complex.

    August 29, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  13. Smeagel4T

    If anybody should know "mindless", it would be good ol' Rummy. He's a pro at it.

    August 29, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  14. cbp

    Any discussion about our future plans for the military do not include Mr. Rumsfeld. He has yet to admit that the so-called evidence that Iraq had mmd's has not been made. He helped to bring us to a war which has kept out men int he region for 11 years now. How many mend and women have been killed or wounded?

    His assessment is not necessary and only brings up this painful time in our history. He began his job at the Dept. of Defense planning a war with Iraq and look what his plans have done.

    August 29, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  15. DRHunt

    I have just 3 words regarding his analysis: Shock and Awe...

    August 29, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  16. jnpa

    Rumsfeld – Why did Obama’s administration allow details about that potential military action to become public before any decisions have been made?

    Because that is what the public demands these transparency! The public wants to know everything our government is doing before they do it. Just read some of these comments over the past few months. This is what you get with transparency folks.....not good!

    August 29, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  17. History Bear

    this from a man who used lies and fabricated information to create a war that did us no good and much harm.? Talk about your sleazy liars. President Obama is no prince, but so far he hasnt' sunk this low.

    August 29, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. Valencio

    Not only was Mr Rumsfeld a party to leading the U.S. into a senseless war in Iraq, it was also a prohibitively costly war to the tune of over 1 trillion dollars!!! Defense contractors and those who manufacture and sell the U.S. Government war materiels were in their element to say the least...

    August 29, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  19. Bigger Thomas

    This dude is amazing. I am not able to come close to even trying to articulate anything near the level of my pure disgust and incredulous wonder, at how this person has the audacity to say any of what he has about anything that anyone in government or anywhere in fact in civil society would do in any capacity to add value to society. I realize that this is a very long sentence, and I apologize, but I am simply dumbfounded by this man saying anything like he did in this article....

    August 29, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  20. bettiejean

    Tell me the lying-on-Iraq Donald Rumsfeld didn't just open his mouth and criticize Obama's "case."

    Good lord. It's the apocalypse.

    August 29, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  21. Dave, CA

    Probably because he didn't LIE rummy. Why aren't you in jail?

    August 29, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  22. dclapp

    comments about foreign affairs from the most pathetic individual in the Bush defense department should be treated with the contempt that this man has earned.

    August 29, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  23. ReaganRepublican

    Why would anyone care what Rumsfeld or Cheney ever think about anything but especially when to go to war. If anyone wants to know how to con their boss, their country and many countries into going to war like they did with President Bush and the "coalition of the willing" then call them up for advice. He and Cheney should be in jail for what they did.

    August 29, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  24. Darsh

    So this liar has to speak up on Obama making case or not ONLY AFTER UK Vote verdict. Interesting.

    August 29, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  25. ...

    How cute. The architect of the Iraq War is asking for evidence to justify attacking Syria.

    August 29, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
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