Tags: George W. Bush | Iraq | ISIS/Islamic State | donald rumsfeld | democracy | iraq | comments

Donald Rumsfeld: Iraq Democracy Comments Not 'Anti-Bush'

By    |   Tuesday, 09 Jun 2015 11:08 PM

Days after former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld said trying to instill a democracy in Iraq was "unrealistic," he is both defending the comments and also saying they were not meant to be critical of former President George W. Bush.

Rumsfeld spoke with CNN Tuesday and followed up on his remarks.

After saying, "the implication that that statement was anti-Bush is ridiculous," Rumsfeld dove deeper into the issue.

"When we went in [to Iraq], my view — and I thought it was a broadly held view — was that the goal was to have Saddam Hussein not be there, and to have what replaced Saddam Hussein be a government that would not have weapons of mass destruction, that would not invade its neighbors, and that would be reasonably respectful of diverse ethnic groups — meaning the Sunni, the Shia, the Kurds," Rumsfeld told CNN. "And that was kind of the understanding I had and I thought everyone had."

Over the weekend, Rumsfeld said he was "concerned" when he first heard the word "democracy" being thrown around the Bush White House in the early days the Iraq War.

"The idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic," Rumsfeld said. "I was concerned about it when I first heard those words."

In 2003, following widespread looting in Iraq, Rumsfeld famously said "freedom's untidy" during a Pentagon press conference.

"Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things," Rumsfeld said at the time. "They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that's what's going to happen here."

Rumsfeld has been critical of President Barrack Obama in recent months, saying the way he is handling the Islamic State (ISIS) is off the mark.

"There's a great many things that have been done that weaken our ability to do what needs to be done," Rumsfeld told Newsmax TV in February.

"If you don't properly identify the enemy and, in this case, it's obviously Islamists and radicals, the Muslim faith, who are determined to attack the very fundamental thing that stabilizes the world, namely the nation-state.

"They want to end the nation-state concept and impose a caliphate. And to pretend that it's random … is to deny the truth."

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Days after former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld said trying to instill a democracy in Iraq was "unrealistic," he is both defending the comments and also saying they were not meant to be critical of former President George W. Bush.
donald rumsfeld, democracy, iraq, comments, george w. bush
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2015-08-09
Tuesday, 09 Jun 2015 11:08 PM
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