Rumsfeld: Obama's Response to Consulate Attack Was 'Politically Motivated'

Wednesday, 03 Oct 2012 07:05 PM

By Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter

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Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tells Newsmax.TV the Obama administration’s assertion that the attack on our consulate in Libya wasn’t a planned terrorist action was politically motivated and “certainly not factual.”

He also states that the sequestration procedure requiring large cuts to U.S. defense spending next year will send a signal to the world that the United States is “a nation in decline.”

And he declares that Israel “cannot take the risk” of allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.

Story continues below video:


Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1977, then under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006, and as a member of the Bush administration was one of the chief architects of America’s response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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His book “Known and Unknown: A Memoir” was released last year.

Republicans say the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, received repeated threats and asked for additional security, which was reportedly denied, before the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed. The White House declined to comment on the charge, and former Vice President Dick Cheney alleges the administration is in cover-up mode.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV on Wednesday, Rumsfeld comments: “The vice president is a good judge of these things and has been around the intelligence business and these subjects for a long time.

“I cannot imagine why they would have sent the U.N. ambassador out with a story that was so obviously not the case. The idea that they wanted to suggest that this was a problem involving the YouTube that nobody had seen and didn’t have anything to do with September 11 and it wasn’t planned and it wasn’t organized, given the kinds of weapons that were being used and the day it occurred, I think just on its face they were going in a direction that was helpful to them politically but it certainly was not factual.

“What we’ve seen in the last four years with this administration is they have been unwilling to talk about Islamists, radical violent terrorists, even before congressional committees. They talked about the Fort Hood killing as being workplace violence.

“I don’t know what is on their mind but unless you know who the enemy is and how they think and what they’re doing, you then behave in a way that is quite different than you would if you really understood what you’re up against.”

Obama takes credit for ending the war in Iraq, but Rumsfeld is concerned about the aftermath of U.S. withdrawal.

“I think it was really a sizeable diplomatic failure on the part of the Secretary of State and the White House to fail to get a status of forces agreement in Iraq” defining the conditions under which America could maintain forces there.

“We have status of forces agreements in country after country around the world. The fact that we lacked that puts us in a position where we do not have the ability to do the kinds of things we probably ought to be able to do.”

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Asked about a potential war against Iran, Rumsfeld responds: “I have not seen the intelligence. I do think that if one just looks at things logically, if you were an Israeli minister of any kind and you heard the things that the president of Iran and other leadership in that country say about Israel, that they want to incinerate and annihilate them, [you have] to be aware that if they develop a nuclear weapon, the state of Israel, as small as it is, really cannot take the risk of having Iran having a nuclear weapon.

“And given the relationship between the United States and Israel, which is quite different than it was four years ago, I think the likelihood of the Israeli government talking to the United States about what they might do is probably fairly low, given the fact that so many national security secrets seem to be leaking out of the White House to favored news organizations.”

That relationship between the United States and Israel is “strained,” Rumsfeld adds.

“The prime minister of Israel asks to see the president and the president is in the same city and [turns the prime minister] down to go on ‘The View,’ a television show — I think that is a slap in the face to the prime minister and to an ally and friend, a country that really is the only strong democracy in that part of the world.

“It is clear that Obama has put high on his agenda to alter the relationship between the United States and Israel. I think the risk we face today with respect to Israel is that the Muslim Brotherhood now in Egypt may not have the same resolve with respect to Egypt’s treaty with Israel, and if that unravels clearly it would be enormously harmful to Israel, to Egypt, and certainly to the United States.”

Rumsfeld also addresses the recent spate of attacks on American forces by Afghan soldiers: “What we ought to do about that problem is to stop doing joint work with the Afghans security forces until and unless there is a very careful process of vetting the people in those security forces and attempting to reduce that kind of activity.”

Sequestration is scheduled to take effect in 90 days, but House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claim the president hasn’t been involved in discussions on how to stave off the defense cuts.

Rumsfeld tells Newsmax: “The president has been involved in this sense: He has talked contractors into not laying people off before the election. The contractors are going to have to figure out what they do if they don’t get money. Yet politically it looks as though the White House has told these people they should not lay people off because it would be harmful to the president.

“The sequestration process is mindless. It’s a meat ax. It doesn’t use judgment. It’s a mistake and it should not happen and it will send a signal out to the world that the United States is a nation in decline.

“When I came to Washington in the Eisenhower administration and then served in Congress in the Kennedy and Johnson years, the United States spent 10 percent of gross domestic product on defense. Today we invest less than 4 percent. So the debt problem, the deficit problem, is clearly not because of the Department of Defense. It is because of entitlements, and the Congress and the president owe it to the country to sit down and figure it out and deal with that problem.”

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Asked to compare Obama and Mitt Romney on foreign policy, Rumsfeld says: “We’re going to have a debate on that and we’ll have a chance to see. But there’s no question but that Governor Romney clearly understands the things that have made America an exceptional country.

“He also understands that nature abhors a vacuum, and to the extent that the United States is seen to be in decline, seen to be modeling our economic approach after Europe, which is a failed model, it tells the world that we will not be a first-rate country in the period ahead.

“When the world gets the signal that the United States is going to cut $1 trillion out of its defense budget in the next decade, it sends a signal that we will be a weaker, a lesser nation than we have been, and that weakness will encourage people to fill that vacuum and it will be filled by countries that do not have our interests. It will be unpleasant and unstable and a less safe world.”


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