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. JoJo

    "Rumsfeld says ......that current statements from Obama and his aides haven’t met the threshold for intervention in Syria."
    After what Rumsfeld and others did in starting the unnecessary trillion dollar holocaust in Iraq, he has the nerve to say something like this? Incredible.

    August 29, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  2. Robert

    G.S. Patton, trolling or not? I can't tell. Republicans and conservatives are grasping at straws at this point, it seems.

    August 29, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Kellie A Norcott

    I don't have the vocabulary to describe how I feel about THIS MAN in particular criticizing someone else's justification for war. I don't even care if he's right. I just think he needs to DESPERATELY STFU and fade into retirement so we're not unnecessarily reminded of the last time HE "made the case" for a war by lying about it all.

    Really – I don't have the words (or the blood pressure meds) to express how much I believe he should be quiet about this.

    August 29, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  4. luke,az

    Rumsfeld is a war criminal. He needs to be tried,sentenced and locked up.

    August 29, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. steve harnack

    This from one of the guys who told Saddam the day, hour, and minute that we were going to strike Baghdad, allowing him and his sons to disappear. I guess that it wouldn't occur to someone this bright that what is being reported might be part of a misinformation ploy. Just go back to hiding from the World Court Rummy, smarter minds are in charge this time.

    August 29, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. Anonymous

    Be careful how you speak about Obama... CNN, the Obama Notwork doesn't like that.

    August 29, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. rc roeder

    and this is from the man that helped start the Iraq war about "Weapons of Mass Destruction"

    August 29, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. freddie nerk

    I don't agree with much of his statements, except the last. Kerry has been dealt bad situations from the Middle East, to Africa to North Korea as well as bad relationships with China and Russia. Clinton spent too much time focused on promoting women and LGBT issues than looking after Americas interests.

    August 29, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. james Pfeiffer

    The fact that this obscene hypocrite would make a statement like this, especially after his perverse manipulation regarding Iraq, shows just how delusional he is. That he actually still believes his opinion is anything more than bulls–t demonstates the true depth of this man's fantasy world. It was him, along with his buddies, who nearly bankrupted this country with their ineptness, selfishness, lies and archaic thinking. Shut up already!

    August 29, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  10. messickc

    Ha! That's rich.... coming from a known war monger.

    Though, I do agree with him here.

    August 29, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  11. alpg49

    This is just absurd. Does he mean Obama hasn't made up enough phony "intelligence" reports to make his case?

    August 29, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. Marie MD

    @Larry' Houston, sorry buddy but just being from Texas makes you an oops citizen.
    That governor of yours is making Texas the laughing stock of the country. Can't decide if before or after south Carolina on the red state list though.

    August 29, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Pot calling the Kettle Black!!! Are you kidding me? Not that I think we should bomb anyone.

    August 29, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. anonymousflux

    Who does this guy think he is?!?!? The man who fabricated a pretense to go to war with Iraq and now he has the audacity to question Obama after a country has been proven to use Nerve agents in the battle field against civilians?!?!?!? Christ – what a totally moronic hypocrite – Get a life Rummie!

    August 29, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. jinx9to88

    And this is coming from Rumsfeld? LMAO. Give me a break.

    August 29, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. ThinkAgain

    Regarding President Obama really letting anything out of the bag, three words: Bin Laden Raid.

    August 29, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. bill

    Rumsfeld lied to the American people. He is a criminal for going into iraq. Anything he says can't be trusted nor is it relevant

    August 29, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    If there really is a just God, Rumsfeld will rot in Hell for eternity along with most of the Bush Administration.

    August 29, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. Marie MD

    @bamabefone, sticks and stones and all that .. Don't are what you think or say. Reading other posts mine was pretty lame. It that you me hiding under another name?
    @indiana voter, you are kidding right? The south is still fighting the civil war all these years later and while we are at it let's add their war on women and voting and civil rights. All so 60s!

    August 29, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. Mac

    Here is the Obama plan. First, allow Assad to kill opposition (mostly groups liked to Al-Qaeda and some unlucky civilians). Which they believe ongoing or done (common interest of course shared with Assad). Second, then take on Assad and replace him with moderate Syrian government (again common interest shared with Israel). Finally, live the surviving Syrians to their fate.

    August 29, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  21. syd

    Unbelievable! This guy is completely delusional. A liar pure and simple! Apparently he forgot the flimsy and perhaps manufactured evidence used in attacking Iraq. This degenerate needs to be brought up on charges for crimes against humanity

    August 29, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. Peter

    Look who is talking!

    August 29, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. Sophie Meyer

    Good lord, Rumsfeld would be the last person I'd solicit commentary from on this subject. The man knows no shame.

    August 29, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. Mike H.

    "Rumsfeld says Obama hasn't yet justified Syria attack."
    If Obama had relied on flawed misleading intelligence that Syria was getting ready to hand over WMD's to AlQaeda, would have justified attack, Sherlock?
    I don't understand why this incompetent bunch of morons from GWB's administration can't just shut the F up?

    August 29, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    At least no one doubts that Syria was using chemical weapons. In Iraq, no weapon of mass destruction was found.

    If Obama had gone to war in Iraq with trumped-up evidence, he would have been impeached by the House AND convicted by the Senate.
    Ain't THAT the truth!!
    Furthermore, I'm with the person that suggested we give them gas masks. Seriously.

    August 29, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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