Washington, D.C. In a rare foray into public debate since stepping down as defense secretary late last year, Donald Rumsfeld blasted the recent advertisement by MoveOn.org against Army Gen. David Petraeus and decried the current state of political discourse in Washington for its "tendency to try to criminalize public service."
"It seems that the default position for opponents of anyone is to call them liars and betrayers," he said in an interview last week, referring to MoveOn.org's portrayal of Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, as "General Betray Us." Rumsfeld expressed concern that such attacks will discourage public service, especially among young people.
Now that he is out of office, he has devised a foundation with this concern in mind. The foundation's general goal, he said, is to "encourage reasoned and civil debate" about a range of global challenges.