WASHINGTON — Former President George W. Bush’s initial response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks was “measured” and “decisive,” says former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
“The president was right to say the goal is not to retaliate,” Rumsfeld said on “Face the Nation” on CBS today. “The goal is to protect the American people. And the only way to do that was to put pressure on terrorists around the world and make everything they do harder.”
Bush said, “We're not going to simply indict some people in absentia and fire off a few cruise missiles. We're going to deal with this problem before something this bad or something worse happens to the American people. And we're going to find ways to protect them,’ ” Rumsfeld said.
Rumsfeld also said that he kept the Pentagon open after the terrorist attacks to send a message because he didn't want the world to think that a group of terrorists could shut down the Defense Department.
It was clear that terrorists had hit the seat of economic power in New York and the seat of military power in Washington, Rumsfeld said. Another plane was probably going to aim for the seat of political power — either the Capitol or the White House, he said.
That's why the Pentagon had to stay open, Rumsfeld insisted.