The insistence by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden that al-Qaida has been severely weakened and is nearing defeat is "just plain flat wrong," former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says.
"[These are] overblown contentions . . . just plain flat wrong and a misunderstanding of how the world works and how terrorist organizations function," Rumsfeld told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"It should be embarrassing . . . to have the two top leaders of our country be so flat wrong on what they said about al-Qaida.
"It seems to me it ought to be cited and noted because it goes directly to their credibility. Hoping something’s the case doesn't make it so," Rumsfeld said Wednesday.
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Rumsfeld — who was secretary of defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush — also says the United States did not adequately protect its consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which led to a Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed four Americans.
"If the United States is going to put people in overseas posts, they have an obligation to see that they’re properly protected," he said.
"The British knew that there were al-Qaida threats, and they pulled their people out because they knew they couldn’t protect them. Our people knew there were al-Qaida threats, and they not only did not protect them, but they didn’t pull them out.
"And that, in my view, is a neglect of important responsibilities . . . Clearly, the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is the person responsible."
Rumsfeld, author of the new book "Rumsfeld's Rules,"
says the ongoing efforts by the United States for a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine are unlikely to work.
"There is a theory that some people subscribe to that it is possible to take . . . two parties in this case, and grab them by the scruff of the neck, and push them together, and have them make a deal. Now, the reality is that’s utter nonsense," Rumsfeld said.
"People have to see something as in their interest, or no matter how hard they’re pushed, they’re simply not going to agree, and if they do agree, it won’t stick, it won’t last.
"In this instance, it takes persuasion, it takes time, and it takes conviction on both sides . . . It is very clear that the Israelis know themselves, they know their country . . . They can’t afford to make a mistake, and I doubt that they will. I think their leadership is courageous, and prudent, and respectful, and understanding of history."
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