September 5th, 2013
09:06 AM ET
9 years ago

Rumsfeld concedes Iraq War influences Syria debate

Updated 9/5/13 12:00 p.m. ET
(CNN) - While sharply criticizing President Barack Obama as an ineffective leader on Syria, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld conceded that faulty intelligence in the lead up to the Iraq War is influencing the current debate over intervening there.

"That experience unquestionably has affected some people's judgment and attitude and impressions," Rumsfeld, who led the U.S. invasion of Iraq, said on CNN's "New Day."

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Rumsfeld's admission came just moments after he vigorously denied any parallels between the two military operations.

"Congress looked at the same intelligence and came to the same conclusions and supported it, including very prominent Democrats who enthusiastically supported it," Rumsfeld said, referring to intelligence that the Bush administration showed Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

When asked by CNN "New Day" anchor Chris Cuomo of skeptics who say that intelligence was manipulated and spun politically, Rumsfeld said people "on the fringe" had taken that position. "[I] don't think anyone responsible has said anything like that," he insisted.

The former defense secretary, who resigned from the top defense post in 2006 amid widespread criticism that he mismanaged the Iraq war, added, "Intelligence is intelligence and not necessarily a fact."

Despite his concession, Rumsfeld maintained that the more pressing reason why Obama is struggling to gain the support of Congress is because of Obama's lack of leadership.

"Almost any president in my adult life I think would have provided stronger leadership and greater clarity," he said.

This is not the first time Rumsfeld has provided his input on Syria. He has been outspoken in his criticism of Obama's handling of the possible military operation.

"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 on Fox Business Network last week.

He also criticized the president for not garnering support before the release of his intent to intervene in the war-torn country.

"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.

Filed under: Donald Rumsfeld • Syria
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Paul

    "Donald Rumsfeld conceded that faulty intelligence in the lead up to the Iraq War is influencing the current debate over intervening there. "

    Maybe because we haven't payed for that mistake yet? It's still on the US credit card.

    September 5, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. just saying

    "Seems to me that Barack Obama was for the red line before he was against it..."
    So you consider the near-universal global condemnation of the use of chemical weapons going back to the Brussels Declaration in 1874, which banned "poison" weapons...not to mention the Hague Conference, the Washington Arms Conference Treaty, the Versailles Peace Treaty, the Geneva Protocol, the Chemical Weapons Convention, not be a "red line" drawn by humanity in general? Newsflash: Obama's statements about the "red line" are in no way self-contradictory.
    GROW. UP.

    you need to grow up as well as obama. he's spoke stupidly and now wants to try and claim everybody else is responsible for his irresponsible utterings.

    obama's own words:
    We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation. ..."

    September 5, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
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