Entries in Donald Rumsfeld (7)


Rumsfeld Cancels 'New York Times' Subscription Over 9/11 Blog Post

Paul Krugman. File Photo. Goh Seng Chong/Bloomberg(WASHINGTON) -- Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has canceled his office subscription to The New York Times after an online blog item by columnist Paul Krugman described the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks as “an occasion for shame.”   

Earlier Monday, Rumsfeld tweeted, “After reading Krugman’s repugnant piece on 9/11, I canceled my subscription to the New York Times this AM.”

Rumsfeld’s Chief of Staff Keith Urbahn confirmed to ABC News that the tweet had come from Rumsfeld’s Twitter account. He says Rumsfeld normally tweets himself, but Rumsfeld and Urbahn had discussed Rumfeld’s decision beforehand and decided it should be tweeted out.

Urbahn says Rumsfeld canceled his personal subscription to the Times years ago, but after reading Krugman’s column this weekend, decided, “We would no longer have an office subscription, so he canceled it.”

Krugman’s short blog post titled “The Years of Shame" appeared Sunday -- on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks -- on, decrying how 9/11 had become a “wedge issue.”

Krugman wrote, “What happened after 9/11 -- and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not -- was deeply shameful.”  He continued, “The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

"The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue,” Krugman continued. “Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.”

Urbahn said Rumsfeld described Krugman’s column "as being beyond the pale.”

Asked how his office would do without a subscription to the paper of record, Urbahn said, “I think we’re going to do just fine.  We’re not going to be missing much.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rumsfeld: U.S. Prestige Will be Damaged if Gadhafi Stays

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has said that if Gadhafi remains in power in Libya, it will damage the prestige of the United States.

In an exclusive interview on This Week with ABC News' Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper, Rumsfeld said, "the fact is we are involved" in Libya. "And the prestige of the United States is involved."

Rumsfeld compared the possible scenario of Gadhafi staying in power in Tripoli to the U.S. and coalition forces not removing Saddam Hussein during the 1991 Gulf War, though he refused to take a firm stand on whether U.S. military action in Libya was the correct move for the Obama administration.

"Think back to the Gulf War in the early 1990s," said Rumsfeld, who served as George W. Bush's defense secretary from 2001-2006. "Saddam Hussein, when it was over, said he had fought the mother of all battles and President George Herbert Walker Bush was gone, Margaret Thatcher was gone, and he was still in office. And the implication of that was that he had defeated the United States," he said.

"Let there be no question: we're now involved in Libya. And if Gadhafi stays on, he will feel he has fought the mother of all battles against the United States and it will be damaging to us just as our demeanor in Somalia was damaging, the situation in Lebanon was damaging and that will embolden others of his ilk," he told Tapper.

Rumsfeld also used the word "confusion" a number of times to describe the United Nations-backed military effort in Libya.

"If you go into something with confusion and ambiguity about what the mission is – and we've heard four or five different explanations about why we're there – and that is the root of the problem. The confusion that comes from that," Rumsfeld said.

"Confusion about what the mission is, confusion about who the rebels are, confusion about whether or not Gadhafi should be left in power, confusion about what the command and control should be," Rumsfeld said.

The former defense secretary said he thought the coalition in the Libya mission did not compare favorably to the coalition President George W. Bush put together to fight the "global war on terror."

"The coalition that is in place with respect to Libya is the smallest one in modern history," Rumsfeld said. "We had over 90 countries in the global war on terror that President Bush and Colin Powell put in place. We had dozens of countries involved in Afghanistan, dozens of countries involved in Iraq. … And still, the Democrats were alleging that it was President Bush was a unilateralist. It's nonsense," he insisted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Donald Rumsfeld: US Response to Egypt 'Confusing'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld criticized the Obama administration’s response to the crisis in Egypt Friday, calling it “confusing” and telling ABC News the United States’ diplomatic effort “certainly doesn’t give one confidence.”

In a radio interview, Rumsfeld was particularly critical of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s description of the Muslim Brootherhood as a “largely secular” during a House Intelligence Committee testimony Thursday that Clapper's office later had to clarify. 

“That is not something that is subject to debate,” Rumsfeld said of Clapper’s contention.   “That is something that we know a great deal about.”

Rumsfeld, however, did not fault CIA director Leon Panetta for pointing to news reports, suggesting during his testimony there was a “strong likelihood” that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would step down Thursday. 

“People who think they know the answer and publicly announce what they believe to be the case are often wrong,” Rumsfeld said, saying that the outcome of a volatile situation is not always possible to predict.

But the former defense secretary said official statements from Washington urging Mubarak to step aside have differed from what the administration’s special envoy, Frank Wisner, had been saying in Cairo.   This, Rumsfeld said, has proven to be “confusing.” 

“It certainly doesn’t give one confidence,” the former secretary said of the administration’s public steps.

“One doesn’t know precisely what’s taking place with private diplomacy -- what’s really most effective -- but certainly the public diplomacy has been somewhat confusing.”

Rumsfeld, who has known Mubarak for decades, responded carefully when asked whether he is a dictator.

“He clearly has perpetuated himself in office.   He clearly has hoped that his son would succeed him.   There have been a number of things that have inhibited freer political systems,” Rumsfeld said of the Egyptian president, stopping short of offering any further criticism of Mubarak.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rumsfeld: 'Would've Been Better Off If I Had' Resigned Post-Abu Ghraib

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declares that his biggest regret in office was not convincing President Bush to accept his resignation after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, and said the country and the Pentagon probably "would've been better off" if he had left office in 2004.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Rumsfeld also said the enhanced interrogation techniques he approved for use on the so-called "20th hijacker" -- including forced stress positions and removal of "comfort items" -- produced invaluable intelligence.

But his biggest regret was staying in office during what he calls a period of "damaging distraction," as photos of abused detainees at Abu Ghraib circulated around the globe.  He twice wrote letters of resignation to the president, but was convinced to stay on both times.

"That was such a stain on our country," he told ABC News.  "To think that people in our custody were treated in that disgusting and perverted and ghastly way -- unacceptable way."

"There wasn't an easy target," he added.  "And so I stepped up and told the president I thought I should resign.  And I think probably he and the military and the Pentagon and the country would've been better off if I had."

Rumsfeld asserts that the harsh interrogation tactics he authorized for use against high-value terrorism suspects helped U.S. authorities save lives, including in the case of Mohammed al-Qahtani.

"Qahtani, who was the 20th hijacker, they say -- he gave a lot of information," Rumsfeld said.  "And it was very helpful to our interrogators and to the United States government in saving lives."

He added, "And I think that the fact that we haven't had an attack in a decade is a credit to that administration, the Bush administration, and to [President Bush]."

Still, he writes in his new memoir, Known and Unknown, which is being released Tuesday, that he was "surprised and troubled" that interrogators went further than his orders allowed in some cases, particularly in interrogating Qahtani at Guantanamo Bay.

Qahtani would be subjected to sexual humiliation and long periods of sleep deprivation and isolation while in custody at Guantanamo, and his heartbeat at one point dropped to 35 beats per minute.

Rumsfeld said he only learned the details of such treatment after the fact -- and that interrogators went further than he had authorized.

"I didn't approve any of that," Rumsfeld said in the interview.  "And when I found out that they had done some of those things, the people who had done things that had not been approved were dealt with.  They were stopped and prosecuted."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Donald Rumsfeld to Unveil Career Archives

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Nearly 2,000 documents from Donald Rumsfeld's tenure in politics, dating back to his early days as a congressman in the 1960s, will be available for public consumption on Tuesday, the day his memoir, Known and Unknown, hits bookshelves.

The extensive archival collection took four years to digitize and compile and was paid for by the former defense secretary himself.  It will be featured on  Users will not only be able to search for documents by category or timeframe, they will also be allow to click on documents that Rumsfeld cites in his book -- all 1,300 of them.

Rumsfeld, a controversial figure who started his public service career as a congressman in 1963, has always had a keen interest in keeping close track of his documents.

He kept a detailed record of every vote he cast in Congress, and dictated notes on the decision behind that vote.

In the White House, first as President Gerald Ford's chief of staff and then President George W. Bush's defense secretary, Rumsfeld continued, carefully maintaining all his memos and notes from presidential briefings.

The archives specifically focus on three aspects of Rumsfeld's public service career: His voting record in Congress, his time in the Ford and Nixon administrations, and the Sept. 11 attacks and the eventual U.S. attack on Iraq, which has made Rumsfeld one of the most controversial public figures in recent decades.

The collection includes a diversity of documents, from Rumsfeld's own reflective memos, to more formal, contextual papers about policy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Donald Rumsfeld: 'It's Possible' Troop Decisions Were a Mistake in Iraq

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- More than four years after leaving public life, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld continues to believe the war in Iraq was worth the effort, and has no apologies for his decision-making in leading the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Rumsfeld concedes that "it's possible" that decisions on how many troops to send into Iraq marked the biggest mistake of the war.

"In a war, many things cost lives," Rumsfeld told ABC News.

Pressed on the fact that President Bush has written that cutting troop levels in Iraq was "the most important failure in the execution of the war," Rumsfeld called that "interesting."

"I don't have enough confidence to say that that's right.  I think that it's possible.  We had [an] enormous number of troops ready to go in.  They had -- we had off-ramps, if they weren't needed."

"It's hard to know," Rumsfeld continued.  "You know, the path you didn't take is always smoother."

The interview -- Rumsfeld's first for television since 2006 -- is tied to the publication of his memoir, Known and Unknown, this week.

The book spans a half century that took Rumsfeld, now 78, from a back bench as a 30-year-old member of Congress to success in the private and public sectors.  He served Republican presidents from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush, including a stint as President Gerald Ford's chief of staff.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Donald Rumsfeld's Memoir: No Regrets on Iraq War

Photo Courtesy - Sentinel HC(WASHINGTON) -- Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has no regrets about how the Iraq war was handled, according to leaked portions of his memoir.

The Middle East would be "far more perilous than it is today" with Saddam Hussein in power, Rumsfeld wrote in his new book, Known and Unknown: A Memoir -- slated to be released next week.

While the book's contents have been a tightly guarded secret, some revelations have already leaked out.

The book covers the span of an extraordinary career in Washington and beyond, as Rumsfeld himself recorded in real-time in thousands of pages of documents being released in conjunction with the book.

Elected to Congress from Illinois at age 30, he went on to serve in top posts in the Nixon and Ford administrations -- including Ford's White House chief of staff -- and was the nation's youngest ever as well as oldest ever Defense secretary, tenures separated by 24 years in the private sector.

In the memoir, Rumsfeld recounted a one-on-one meeting with President George W. Bush, who first asked for Iraq war plans just two weeks after the Sept. 11 attack -- before the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

As defense secretary, Rumsfeld played a key role in the war on terror – often referred to as one of the architects of the war in Iraq.

In responding to criticism that he didn't authorize enough troops to fight in the war, he said that commanders never sent him a request for more forces in 2003.

But he wrote that, "in retrospect, there may have been times when more troops could have helped."

However, if there was one thing he regrets, it's not quitting after the Abu Ghraib detainee abuse scandal.

Graphic photos showing physical and sexual humiliation of detainees at the prison in Iraq by U.S. soldiers touched off worldwide outage.

"Abu Ghraib and its follow-on effects, including the continued drum-beat of 'torture' maintained by partisan critics of the war and the president, became a damaging distraction," he wrote. "More than anything else I have failed to do, and even amid my pride in the many important things we did accomplish, I regret that I did not leave at that point."

Rumsfeld wrote President George W. Bush two letters of resignation but both were rejected.

He was dismissed by President Bush after Democrats took over Congress in Nov. 2006, after serving nearly six years as Defense Secretary in his second stint in the job he also held in the Ford administration.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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