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. Tommy1

    He's right... why are we telling Syria what our plans are? Seems dumb to me.

    August 29, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. Rogue351

    What are you talking about Rummy ? Your buddy McShame would have had America involved and backing Al-Qaeda months ago. And at that time most of the Rep where on his side, war mongers. Now the president wants to act he has to convince the Rep. Well which is it ? Does it depend on who makes the choice rather we go in or not rather it is right or wrong ? Let me make it simple. WE, the United States of America are not the world police. Now if the UN wants to go in as a supported of a world community we should back them. But on our own, NO

    August 29, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Paul

    Are you kidding me dude?

    August 29, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. raybert

    I heard Rumsfeld wants to give Obama lessons on how to lie more convincingly. Who better to learn from than the master?

    August 29, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  5. MIke

    The nerve of this guy! Amazing!

    August 29, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    "That being said, I really do wish the Middle East would put their big boy pants on and grow up ... starting with policing themselves without constantly dragging in the world over each and every one of their temper tantrums."
    A noble hope indeed, but one with 6000+ years of precedent against it. I'm not a Bible thumper, but there's a lot of Old Testament prophecy that's eerily similar to what's playing out here. Makes me a tad uneasy. I hope for the best.

    August 29, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    The story here is not that Obama hasn't made his case, it's the fact that Rumsfield is talking as if he has a right to lecture Obama. What a hypocrite Rumsfield is!

    August 29, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. Phil in KC

    Really?! This from the guy who helped trump up the charges so we could invade Iraq? At least, in this case, we have photos and first-hand reports proving people were gassed. That's more than he ever provided. What a hypocrite!

    August 29, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. Lisa

    I don't understand these politicians. First the GOP was mad because Obama wouldn't do anything, now that he wants t,o they say he shouldn't or he isn't doing it right. I am so so so tired of this crap. GOP or DEM get yourselves together and work with one another quit thinking about the next election and do something, anything for anybody. Look the GOP lost, get over and move on, if the DEMS lose next time, they need to get over it and move on and work for the good of us and not themselves. Do whats right, not what you need to do to get re-elected.

    August 29, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. Gladys

    Get real Rumsfeld. You made your case for Iraq by lying to the people of the US. My aunt wants you to go back into your cave!

    August 29, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. Fair is Fair

    "He's right? What about the Russian aircraft carrier moving into position off the Syrian coastline to position itself between US forces and the Russian naval base located there?"
    Turkey's part of NATO, and they have no love loss for Syria. They'd allow cruise missles to be launched from their territory. Guaranteed.

    August 29, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. MEC

    Shouldn't this man be in jail for war crimes?

    August 29, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. George Bush

    Rumsfeld shook Saddam's hand after he gassed the Kurds....

    August 29, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. mirageseekr

    They are all liars, both Democrats and Republicans. America stop sending our children to die so that the 1% can get richer. Do not let the propaganda machine talk you into Syria. There is nothing good that can come of basically starting WWllll, America has used chemical agents as recently as the Gulf War so we really have no moral high ground here. Our government has lied to us over and over again by playing on our soft spots and patriotism (see, Gulf war, Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan.) The deceit is unbelievable, do not fall for it.

    August 29, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. rconatser1

    Dumsfeld should be in prison for war crimes – along with W. and Cheney. Only an idiot would listen to him.

    August 29, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    When you elect two oil men to be president and Vice President you are just asking for trouble . We all know now that bush and Cheney were both stooges of the oil companies and fought this war to give the oil companies access to their oil which they didn't have before. That's what happens when you vote for the GOP,bush. Cheney and Rumsfeld belong in jail!!!!

    August 29, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. Kevin

    Hey Rumsfeld, when we attacked Iraq you could have used 3 of 4 violations of international law that negate the sovereignty of the offending nation, but instead you gave us a charade of nonsense that gave the anti-war lobby more ammunition than an abandoned Soviet stockpile.

    Don't lecture the Obama administration on something yours couldn't do with more than adequate means.

    August 29, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. ozob

    You've got to be freaking kidding me. Rumsfeld criticizing another administration for not building a realistic case to start an attack?

    August 29, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. Trey

    So, I guess what Rummy is saying is that if Obama wants to attack Syria he has to make something up (like WMD's) and then lie and sell it to the American people just like him and W did with Iraq.

    August 29, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. JHL

    Has he been indicted yet?

    August 29, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. Md

    Hello ! Rummy How You Doing Man ? It has been a while since we heard from you .

    August 29, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  22. Winston Smith

    Put this mans opinion where it needs to be. In the closest trash can. And from now on, don't let any war criminal like this have access to a media where his lack of substance can be mistaken for leadership.

    August 29, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  23. Michael Benjamin

    Rumsfeld has no credibility in this debate.

    August 29, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. PushingBack

    LOL – The war criminal has spoken! Now he should go back under his rock.

    August 29, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. Tina

    Ironic...laughable...contradictory...I can't find the right word.

    August 29, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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