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. jake

    The dufus who said 'there are known knowns and there are known unkowns' about the Iraq conflict to which republicans thought he was some kind of poetic genius..Stupid from the Stupid Party

    August 29, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. John Sedore

    Really??? No one cares what this man has to say...Ummmm let me see...Obama hasn,t lied enough for you Mr. Rumsfeld...Get back in your hole you weesle.

    August 29, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  3. John

    Speaking of "making a case"...

    The case that Rumsfeld should be in prison for war crimes is much clearer than the case for U.S. intervention in Syria.

    August 29, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  4. charles bowen

    As i remember it Rumsfeld was one of the Frequent Leakers Club of the lobby of Liars in the Baby Bush Admin not a lot of credablity in what he says let alone what he does.....He would probably fit right in with the Cowards of The Commons on the other side of the pond....Too Right Gov! Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

    August 29, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  5. Derek

    As much as I despise Rumsfeld, I understand his point about information leaking to the media about what Obama is considering doing. It is kind of mind-boggling. I don't know if Obama is doing it intentionally to rattle Syria, or if there are simply leaks. But it is advertising plans to the enemy.

    That being said, I think it would be a huge mistake for Obama to get involved with Syria. I think he will come to his senses and not attack them. If he does, the Dems will be voted out of office. The public, who does not want to be involved, will not stand for it.

    August 29, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  6. Pensimmon

    Actually, letting Assad know that the US and others are considering military action may well cause him to tone dn his actions and rhetoric. So there you war criminal Rumsfiled.

    August 29, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  7. Bob

    Of course he doesn't think it is justified. There's no oil infrastructure worth stealing (or destroying for Bush's Saudi masters).

    August 29, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  8. The Boot Dr

    Sorry Dawn Kieballs
    You listed it as politics it should be listed as criminals when it comes to Rumsfeld or anyone he worked with during the Bush oops I mean Cheney presidency.

    This story was posted under the wrong category. It was supposed to go under Entertainment/Comedy

    August 29, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  9. Easy E

    Classic. He was totally convinced on a series of lies and fakes, but here we have the real thing and he's 'not convinced'. Someone please put this senile liar in an Alheimer's ward where he belongs.

    August 29, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  10. Norman Hirsch

    So many people said what I was going to say that I don' t need to say it. Let me say it another way to Rumsfeld: "Shut Up" and go away. Why does CNN bother to give him any space? How many US Soldiers are dead now because Rumsfeld got us into an unjustified war?

    August 29, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  11. eric

    I agree with Rumsfeld on not blabbing your plan to the enemy before you go in. Somebody send the Obama administration a copy of "The Art of War". However, Rummy's not in the chair anymore so its not really his call

    August 29, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  12. P.Higginson

    Why is everyone so convinced that the Assad regime has used Chemical Weapons. Our "intelligence" folks suggest that since chemical weapons have been used, it had to be the regime, although the regime denies it and there is no evidence the regime did the deed. Remember Saddam also denied having WMD's, and he we telling the truth... Has anyone in "intelligence" thought through one more step and considered that the enemy of Assad is also Al Queda in Syria. Would anyone put it past Al Queda to kill their own blood (as they did over and over in Iraq) and blame it on Assad to get US missiles raining down on their local enemy Assad while pulling the USA into another Mid-East conflict where Al Queda can take potshots at our folks later on? Maybe someone in Washington should start thinking a few moves ahead in this game..

    August 29, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  13. -DC-

    Oh hey, it's Rummy again. The guy who claimed Iraq had WMDs. The guy who profited from the Iraq war. I was really hoping I'd heard the last from him.

    August 29, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  14. Mr. Correct

    Oh no! Obama has let the cat out of the bag! Because nobody was anticipating Bush's invasion of Iraq at all, it came completely out of nowhere. There weren't years of debate or months of protests leading up to it or anything like that.

    August 29, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  15. Reason & Logic

    This is a pathetic comment from Rumsfeld because after the NeoCons pushed for an Iraqi invasion in 2003 they said they wanted to finish the job and next invade Syria and Iran.

    August 29, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  16. MarkW

    Why is this piece of human filth, responsible for the deaths of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT CIVILIANS, being interviewed by a serious news agency about "justification for war"???? Rumsfeld is a wanted war criminal in several countries. He STILL hasn't justified the war crime that he committted. He engaged in constant lies for two years to sell the atrocity he took part in.

    August 29, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  17. babooph

    No problem Rummy,just lie about "mass destruction" then violate the Geneva convention & call torture ",just how I work at my desk every day"..the "news" will behave.. send in mercenaries & direct the stooges in the news to call them know how to do it Rummy..

    August 29, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  18. Marinedad05

    Rummy...just go away. We all heard your concocted reasons for the Iraq war. Just go away, you have done enough damage to the country.

    August 29, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  19. Shmeegle

    My guess is that Rumsfeld is trying to help Obama by taking some heat off of him. He is well aware that his views on war are unpopular right now. This is one for the U.N to step up and handle.

    August 29, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  20. Len

    Well then. If Mr. Rumsfeld says he's not convinced then let's leave the Middle East!

    August 29, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  21. Liz the First

    More proof that it's only ok when republicans do it! Bush's reason for going into Iraq

    August 29, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  22. Liz the First

    More proof that it's only ok when republicans do it! Bush's reason for going into Iraq was 'Saddam messed with my daddy!" and Rummy and all the other evil minions lied their heads off to convince the American people that war was justified. But Obama has bent over backward to make sure he didn't rush into anything. Unlike the rethugs, Obama has met wars he didn't like. but now all the chicken hawks in congress are condemning this action because Obama is doing it. period!

    August 29, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  23. Kansas Slim

    Dear Donald: Nobody gives a rip what you think. In any event, I guess you are saying it's not worth dropping anything on Assad despite the deaths of all those children from what is considered the most barbaric weapon in a war, short of a nuclear bomb. Do you think Assad might not keep doing that, unless somebody makes him stop? If that isn't justification enough, then I wonder if your comments might just be politically motivated. Oh, Donald, you wouldn't do that, would you dirtbag?

    August 29, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  24. boofer

    this is THE definition of the pot calling the kettle black.

    August 29, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  25. ted

    Rummy, Cheney and Bush all belong in Gitmo for war crimes. Rummy's shock and awe at the beginning of the Iraq war was horrible. This guy needs to crawl back under his rock and stay there.

    August 29, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
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