September 5th, 2013
10:06 AM ET

Rumsfeld: 'Iraq Mistakes Could Provide Obstacle For Syrian Action'

On “New Day,” Thursday, Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says that getting it wrong in Iraq could be part of the obstacle to getting support for taking action in Syria.

When CNN’s Chris Cuomo asks if the legacy leftover from invading Iraq, where people believe intelligence was manipulated, creates suspicion over the proof the U.S. now presents of the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons, Rumsfeld replies that people who believe that about Iraq are “on the fringe” and defends the invasion. 

On people thinking intelligence on Iraq was manipulated, Rumsfeld answers, “I think not. In fact, I have not heard people say that, responsibly. And if you’ll recall, Congress looked at the same intelligence and came to the same conclusions and there were… prominent Democrats who enthusiastically supported it. President Clinton had signed a resolution supporting regime change in Iraq. And the United Nations had 17 resolutions against Saddam Hussein. I think that there may be people on the fringe who say the kind of thing that you’re saying, but I don’t think anyone responsible has said anything like that.

On mistakes in Iraq providing an obstacle to getting involved in Syria, Rumsfeld says,

“I suppose it’s part of the problem. If intelligence were a fact it would be called a fact, and not intelligence. And I think when Colin Powell went before the United Nations with George Tenet, the Director of Intelligence, and talked about the intelligence they had in great detail and then it turned out that stockpiles were not found – that people were cautious and began to recognize that intelligence is intelligence and not necessarily a fact.”


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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Dana Gossman

    Rumsfeld used CNN to rant about our President when in fact he Rumsfeld is labeled the worst Secy of Defense ever to serve in America. Why on earth would CNN interview such a sham? I finished the interview and decided there and then I will not support or promote CNN channel ever again. Rumsfeld's actions were a disaster for two wars so why would you want his input or for that matter value what he thinks. Shame on you CNN. You used poor judgment in having this interview and you lost this viewer and this entire household.

    September 5, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Reply
    • TeamCNNCNN

      Good afternoon, Dana,

      Thank you for sharing your opinion with us. We're sorry to hear of your disappointment with the interview, but we'll include your response in our report to senior management for review.

      Your feedback, positive or negative, is always appreciated.

      Again, thank you for providing us with this input.

      Have a lovely day!
      CNN Viewer Communications

      September 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  2. Bob Powers

    Rumsfeld did not provide a "factual" interview but more of a political rant against the President. His "fringe" element on the mistakes on Iraq and intelligence included a large number of Congressional Democrats. Using the term "responsibly" appeared to be a slap against those Congress members. The reason many people went along with the Bush administration on invading Iraq was that the evidence was presented as facts when "in fact" it was not even close to being true but politically spun as truth.

    September 5, 2013 at 10:29 am | Reply

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