'Support Requires Clarity' Rumsfeld Criticizes Obama's Syria Policies

Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld isn't happy with the job Barack Obama is doing to address the Syrian civil war. He argues the president hasn't explained what he hopes to accomplish in the country.

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: "To gain support in our Congress and from other nations requires clarity."

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: "To gain support in our Congress and from other nations requires clarity."

In an interview to be published in the next issue of SPIEGEL, former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has strongly criticized President Barack Obama's Syria policies.

"I believe the reason he has had difficulty gaining support both in the US and from other countries is because he has not explained what he hopes to do, what the mission would be and what he hopes to accomplish," Rumsfeld said. "To gain support in our Congress and from other nations requires clarity, an acceptable mission and an explicit outcome."

Rumsfeld also voiced scepticism about Russia's offer of placing Syrian chemical weapons under the control of the United Nations. "(M)y recollection is that the Soviets or the Russians gave Syria most of their weapons arsenal," he said. "And it is not clear to me that Russia itself has fully complied with all their obligations with respect to chemical weapons. Therefore, a question would be: Might it possibly amount to putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop?"

Rumsfeld said Obama should not have allowed the situation to get as far as it has. "I think he might have been better off it he had helped some of the non-radical elements among the Syrian rebels early on, not with US troops, but with weapons, intelligence and humanitarian support.

The former defense secretary also shared his opinions on the National Security Agency spying scandal, expressing a surprising amount of sympathy for Europeans who have been outraged by the government organization's surveillance practices.

"My impression is there are a lot of people, Republicans and Democrats, in the US, as well as people overseas, who are concerned about the NSA programs. Should people be concerned about their privacy? You bet. Nobody wants to think that everything they do or say is under surveillance."

The full original English text of the interview will be available on SPIEGEL ONLINE International on Monday.


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omnimodis78 09/15/2013
1. optional
"To gain support in our Congress and from other nations requires clarity, an acceptable mission and an explicit outcome." - Oh how quickly do people forget their own shortcomings. Does he not remember the Iraq War they started in 2003 took another administration (ironically, the man he's criticizing here) to wrap up.
gerhard38 09/15/2013
2. optional
Rumsfeld has a "lot of experience" in supporting foreign powers and political groups. In the eighties, he was the middle man between Geagan and Saddam Hussein, who enjoyed the US' intelligence support in his war against Iran. The US and their contact man Rumsfeld continued their support and turned their eyes away even when Saddam gassed not only Iranian troops but also his Kurds in northern Iraq. Later Rumsfeld was one of the warmongers promoting and helping to start the war on Iraq. Rumsfeld is the last expert anybody should pay attention to. This man should be tried in the Hague and imprisoned for life instead of enjoying a cushy golden age.
Cambooya 09/15/2013
3. Rumsfeld
Rumsfeld is a dickhead, since the Vietnam era I can't remember any US President giving clarity to any conflict, unless of course it is to loose and leave the world worse off than it was before.
hello.neoscosmos 09/16/2013
4. No respect for the people
Rumsfeld can flap his jaws all he wants. He simply has no respect for the rights of the people. 2 out of 3 Americans does not want to engage in war in Syria.
dadtosopheli 09/16/2013
5. Rumsfeld criticizes Obama
I can't believe any respectable news organization would, in all seriousness, publish Mr. Rumsfeld's criticisms of President Obama on the subject of Syria. Have the writers and editors at der Spiegel forgotten the ineptitude Mr. Rumsfeld demonstrated in Iraq? Mr. Rumsfeld and the Bush-Cheney cabal had no 'clarity' in their plans to rebuild Iraq nor an 'acceptable mission' with an 'explicit outcome'. On Mr. Rumsfeld's hands is the blood of not only 3,000 US soldiers but tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens. Der Spiegel should not be giving Mr. Rumsfeld a medium to convey his ignorance and hypocrisy.
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