Archive for Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rumsfeld: War difficult but important agent of change in Iraq, Afghanistan

July 26, 2012


Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday in Lawrence praised the new democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan but said both would face challenges in years ahead coming out of the major U.S. ground wars.

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld came to the Dole Institute of Politics on Thursday July 26, 2012, to talk about his life and career in politics, which saw some of the most infamous and pivotal times in recent history.

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld came to the Dole Institute of Politics on Thursday July 26, 2012, to talk about his life and career in politics, which saw some of the most infamous and pivotal times in recent history.

“Where’s it going to end? I don’t know where it’s going to end, but I have a heavy respect for the idea they’re going to have to figure it out over time, and it won’t be like us,” he told a capacity crowd Thursday afternoon at the Dole Institute of Politics.

“The template we have in this country is a good one for us now. It’s not what we had 50 years ago, or 100 years ago, or 150 years ago. It’s difficult.”

He said America itself has gone through struggles and has changed during its history. A key turning point for the country was on the issue of slavery, which fueled the buildup to the Civil War.

“We did not arrive here out of a cellophane package,” Rumsfeld said. “It was a tough, tough go, and bumpy and difficult, and then other countries are having a tough time.”

During the interview with Dole Institute Director Bill Lacy, Rumsfeld also outlined criticism for the plan to run Iraq once Saddam Hussein was overthrown. The country became embroiled in violence for several years.

“You’re right. Our military is capable, and they are able to go in and in major combat operations prevail,” he said. “It’s after that, what happens?”  

As the popularity of the Iraq War plummeted, Rumsfeld ended up resigning in 2006 the day after Republicans lost both houses of Congress. On Thursday, however, he said he had offered to resign other times before he actually did.

Rumsfeld, 80, talked candidly about both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We were fighting the first war of the information age,” he said.

But he also defended the Bush administration’s actions post 9/11 and said President Barack Obama, who railed against Bush policies during his 2008 campaign, has largely kept the same policies in place.

“There is no more vulnerable group than free people because by our very nature we want to be able to get up in the morning and go where we want and say what we want,” he said. “The idea that we should be terrorized and alter our free way of life is exactly what the terrorist wants. They want to alter our behavior, so 9/11 was a wake-up call and a tough time for President Bush.”

He attributed the major challenges to using the military as a major player to combat terrorism.           

“I guess the old Wyoming saying is dogs don’t bark at parked cars. If you’re doing something, somebody’s not going to like it. If you don’t do anything, no one will be unhappy, probably. But it was a tough eight years for him, and in my view he did a lot of things well.”

In response to a question from an audience member about Obama setting a deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, Rumsfeld said he disagreed with stating deadlines because it can give signals to al-Qaida and other terrorist groups about how long they need to remain in the country.

After the event, Rumsfeld signed copies of his new memoir, “Known and Unknown: A Memoir, The World According To Rummy,” proceeds from which he has promised to donate to veterans’ charities. He also planned to attend a fundraiser for Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder on Thursday evening in Johnson County. Yoder served as a law clerk at the Pentagon, and his grandparents also helped in Illinois for an early Rumsfeld congressional campaign.

A handful of anti-war protesters stood in the parking lot before and after the program.


Robert Rauktis 5 years, 10 months ago

Could this guy find his car in the parking lot? Or did he wait for everyone else to leave?

verity 5 years, 10 months ago

Doesn't he still have Secret Service to take care of him? Or at least some kind of guards. Can't imagine he would go out unprotected.

msezdsit 5 years, 10 months ago

"......praised the new democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan." rummy

Iran won rummy's war. Iraq used to have an army before the US destroyed it now Iran (or anyone in the region) could flick Iraq over with their little finger. Thats real stability in the region. Brilliant rummy, just brilliant. Afghanistan, well, theres a model democracy if their ever was one.

If you see this guy speak you would have to wonder if everything he says is a lie. He certainly lied us into the Iraq war and should be in jail. All his neocon buddies are still at it. Just give us a war,any war, just so long as we have a war. Great policy.

Clara Westphal 5 years, 10 months ago

Our troops do not need to be in any country fighting their wars for them.

Bring our troops home to protect our homeland. That is where they are needed.

Horace 5 years, 10 months ago

Sounds like this guy is as delusional s ever. He led us into a a pointless war and fired the general who correctly pointed out that hundreds of thousands of troops would be needed.

If only he had enough shame to remove himself from public.

verity 5 years, 10 months ago

Puzzle me this---and I am totally serious---what could you and I have done to stop the war? There were huge protests, but one had to go to media outside the country to find out about them. Our "liberal" media barely mentioned them.

What did we not do that we could have---what can we do next time?

pizzapete 5 years, 10 months ago

Left the extremist in charge? Do you mean like with our good friends in Saudi Arabia? I think women did in fact drive and go to school under Saddam Hussein. America is happy to support a strong arm dictator in the Middle East as long as they jump when we tell them to. In fact we armed and paid our friends and allies in the Taliban to fight the Russians. It's only when the extremist don't follow our directions that we start an embargo or war against them. Any revolution in the Middle East needs to come from within, a revolution forced on a people from the outside is no revolution at all. The revolution in Iraq and Afganistan did indeed arrive out of a cellophane package. If we are so concerned with women's rights, why don't we free the people of Saudi Arabia?

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 10 months ago

Although Iraq was a dictatorship, prior to the invasion it was not a "Muslim extremist nation". On the contrary Hussein was hated by Al Qaeda and it was one of the countries they hoped to take down. This was actually recognized by the US during the Reagan administration and the diplomatic plan was to court Iraq to keep it that way. The US invasion, on the contrary, destabilized the country and opened it up for takeover by Muslim fundamentalists.
World events and recent history aren't your forte, are they Weiser? Just keep regurgitating those Fox talking heads.

Abdu Omar 5 years, 10 months ago

Putting this man's photo on the front page of the LJWorld is an affront to every decent and lawbiding citizen in this beautiful city. His politics, leadership and savagery has made a mockery of America throughout the world and to have him speak at our great Dole Institute is a very bad idea. Along with Bush and Cheney, this man should be arrested for war crimes and an attack upon a sovereign nation without provocation.

This man has caused thousands of deaths, famine and destruction of property for no reason. Why would The Dole Center invite him to speak? Are there no other speakers available?

Orwell 5 years, 10 months ago

I guess the Dole Institute's approach is to present a speech by the speaker you have, not the speaker you might want or wish to have at a later time.

Liberty275 5 years, 10 months ago

I say whoever convicted him should come get him. Do you think they will?

mdt 5 years, 10 months ago

Donald Rumsfeld and Bob Dole are close friends, had offices next to each other when they first went to Congress. Donald Rumsfeld and his wife are listed as a $25,000+ donors on the Dole Center's contribution list.

Liberty275 5 years, 10 months ago

"this man should be arrested for war crimes and an attack upon a sovereign nation without provocation."

Ummm, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Afghanistan was harboring al quaidas. If you missed the provocation, you must have slept in late those mornings.

msezdsit 5 years, 10 months ago

"Iraq invaded Kuwait" your confusing your bushes, that was the last ones excuse and Kuwait did provocative Sadaam by not living up to agreements they had made with him as well as drilling and stealing Iraqi oil. Not to mention that the bushes had a long history with Kuwait and their oil.

Liberty275 5 years, 10 months ago

So are you mad because we liberated Kuwait or because we finished off the the job when Hussein violated the ceasefire?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 10 months ago

Oh, O.K., he gassed the Kurds, killing thousands. Is that provocation? No? How about his family taking brides off the streets and raping them. Is that provocation enough? Still no? How about a war with Iran that killed a million. Enough? No? How about, oh, never mind.

Yes, it was a terrible idea on our part. That doesn't diminish the fact that Saddam needed to be taken out. And when the death toll in Syria surpasses a million, American critics will say we should have done something. Either way, we're wrong. Thanks for nothing.

Abdu Omar 5 years, 10 months ago

I was not talking about the invasion of Kuwait, but of Iraq some years later and you know it!! 2003 come to mind for you? Maybe you slept late on that one, Liberty?

fu7il3 5 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, shame on a political institute for bringing in a major political figure to speak. What could they have possibly been thinking?

Education isn't about only hearing the ideas you agree with. It is about hearing all ideas and then making your own decision.

msezdsit 5 years, 10 months ago

Even if you bring in mass murderers. Thank god Hitler isn't still alive or we should have to listen to what he would have to say.

fu7il3 5 years, 10 months ago

Rumsfeld, regardless of whether you like him or not, has a fifty year career in American politics. The Dole Institute is a place to study politics.

Every major political leader in this country has been responsible for deaths, Democrats and Republicans. Are you against all politicians, or just conservative ones?

Rumsfeld is a major political figure, and as such, should be speaking at the Dole Institute, along with other major political figures from throughout the world. It is a place to hear different viewpoints of politics. That includes controversial ones.

For some reason, no one wants to hear from anyone except those they agree with. It's one of the problems with both sides of the aisle. Everyone wants to talk, no one wants to listen. Maybe it would be good for everyone to just sit back and listen to what everyone has to say before judging.

msezdsit 5 years, 10 months ago

"For some reason, no one wants to hear from anyone except those they agree with."fu7 I would take that as your endorsement of Rumsfeld and all the blood on his hands.

What fantasy bubble did you pop out of? What part of mass murderer do you not get. You speak as if its a flavor of ice cream.

"Every major political leader in this country has been responsible for deaths"fu7 Therefore we should just embrace it? Certainly, I prefer chocolate mint mass murderers .

Rumsfeld is a a disgrace to this country and to offer him the dignity to speak anywhere but from prison is continuing his disgrace to this country. You think its just a matter of who I like or don't like or agree with or don't agree with. How insulting, get off your self anointed throne and quit insulting people who are opposed to mass murderers even though its just a casual occurrence to you. I might point out that all the people Rumsfeld casually sent to their grave don't have the opportunity to endorse Rumsfeld as you do because they are all still dead.

Abdu Omar 5 years, 10 months ago

We listened to him during his time in office and that is why I have this opinion of him. He is a criminal. Would you bring Charles Manson to the Dole Center or the uni bomber? They are the same type of criminal.

Abdu Omar 5 years, 10 months ago

Also look at the thousands of American lives that is on his neck!! H went to war unprepared and he knew it. "You go to war with the army you have not the one you wish for". Does this ring a bell? We didn't have to go to war and if we were going to attack someone, WE SHOULD BE PREPARED!!!

lawslady 5 years, 10 months ago

Just wondering..... Did any of those commenting attend the event? Even if (or because) you don't like this man, it might be interesting to hear what he had to say first hand, or to be there to ask him the questions you want answered.

msezdsit 5 years, 10 months ago

Or maybe it would just be best not to give the guy the time of day or soil yourself in the presence of a war criminal with thousands of peoples blood on his hands. Rummy didn't lose one drop of blood.

msezdsit 5 years, 10 months ago

To bad hitler isn't still alive or we could have him speak at the dole center

Liberty275 5 years, 10 months ago

Too bad Saddam and his sons aren't still gassing the Kurds, bulldozing Shiites into mass graves and running rape rooms and funding suicide bombers in Israel, eh haters? Do you also generally cheer when men have their hands cut off in public for being thieves?

I can understand you being upset because we destroyed a socialist regime. I suppose it was sad to see your philosophical brother hang from a rope.

Liberty275 5 years, 10 months ago

Iraq invaded Kuwait. Kuwait Asked America to help. We did. In order to stop us from destroying Iraq Hussein signed a cease fire. He then violated that cease fire many times by firing on our aircraft. Actually, one time too many.

If Saddam didn't have WMD, how did he gas the kurds? Do you want links to the pictures?

Whether you like it or not, the US has allies and from time to time we need to protect those allies. Isolationism isn't particularly grand.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 10 months ago

If Saddam didn't have WMD, how did he gas the kurds?................ I believe it was Tony Blair who said: "We know he has WMD. We kept the receipts."

Liberty275 5 years, 10 months ago

Iraq war and Afghanistan war. There were only two. Look up the definition of "cease fire".

Liberty275 5 years, 10 months ago

They are an ally. No other reason is needed. You may turn your back on your friends, but you aren't America.

"just ask the dead Shiites we promised to help."

How about we ask the ones saddam bulldozed into the desert. I realize they are brown and all, but how you find that acceptable is beyond me.

I know we killed innocent people, but that is the ugliness of war. I think our policy was to not kill innocent people and the ones we killed were by accident or at the hands of people acting outside the mission.

Katara 5 years, 10 months ago

Saddam was able to bulldoze them because Bush 1 said he would provide military support if the locals would try to overthrow Saddam. The Shi'ite held up their end of the bargain and Bush turned his back on them. Saddam then took vengeance on them because we didn't follow through with what we promised them.

pizzapete 5 years, 10 months ago

TV where Socialism means un-American and Central America means Kansas.

msezdsit 5 years, 10 months ago

Yep, the blood is on our hands instead (cheney, rummy, rove, bush, bolton, the list goes on and on and on.)

wmsloan 5 years, 10 months ago

Liberty275 it's a shame you can't keep the IRAQ wars straight. Saddam was gassing the Kurds well before the first invasion of IRAQ. In fact, Saddam was an ally at the time because they were fighting IRAN. You can even find pictures of Rumsfeld, the war criminal, shaking Saddam's hand after he gassed the KURDS. His WMD and ability to make WMD was destroyed during the first Gulf War. It was the erroneous claims of the U.S. that Saddam had restarted his WMD program that led to the second war. A war, that Rumsfeld tried doing on the cheap instead of following the suggestions of the Generals. A war that was run as if he was playing a board game. Rather than invade with a force that would have overwhelmed and disarmed the IRAQI armed forces, Rumsfeld invaded with a force that was told to get to Baghdad as soon as possible and avoid direct contact with the Republican Guard and other units of the IRAQI armed forces. By skirting around their strongholds instead of defeating them, their forces were able to blend in with the civilians and keep their stockpiles of weapons. These weapons were then used to make the IED's that killed so many of our troops. Never in history has there been a poorer use of our forces.

Liberty275 5 years, 10 months ago

" Saddam was gassing the Kurds well before the first invasion of IRAQ."

"I believe it was Tony Blair who said: "We know he has WMD. We kept the receipts.""

"where did we find the WMD's? Oh that's right...."

The left braintrust needs to get together and decide if hussein had wmd or not.

"His WMD and ability to make WMD was destroyed during the first Gulf War."

You are kidding, right? Any state can make chemical weapons. If you nose around the net, I bet you can find the recipe. Also there was no first and second war. There was one war with a cease-fire hussein violated.

Abdu Omar 5 years, 10 months ago

Yes, those are certainly crimes, but you don't fight crime by commiting them yourself. He is certainly a criminal for killing thousands of innocent civilians, not just the Hussein family. They are certainly not my philosophical brother!

msezdsit 5 years, 10 months ago

Rumsfeld: War difficult but important agent of change in Iraq, Afghanistan

The ahole is still tying to sell these wars. Thats enough reason to lock the guy up.

Liberty275 5 years, 10 months ago

As long as a socialist regime is killing it's citizens, the left will turn a blind eye.

Jayhawk1958 5 years, 10 months ago

So we're back to comparing apples to organes I see...

Richard Heckler 5 years, 10 months ago

What democracies?

That is glass house thinking...

If democracies are in place why are any troops or private armies still there? Why did BUSHCO create 5o bases in Iraq?

Rummy = madness

The republican RINO party is trying to squash democracy in America as we speak.

tbaker 5 years, 10 months ago

In hindsight, Iraq was a mistake, we should not have invaded. Although it did and is today an example to the rest of the Arab world that inspires people being oppressed by dictators. Iraq has a little bit to do with the Arab Spring, which will just usher in a new crop of despots, but this sort of change is slow and incremental in this culture.

Afghanistan was and continues to be a noble, worthwhile mission but I still oppose it. We stayed too long and went way past our original strategy of removing the Taliban government and killing off as much of Al Qaeda as we could find. We got involved in “nation building” thanks largely to the US military industrial complex which is a total loser of a mission and costs billions we will get zero ROI for. Mostly I oppose Afghanistan is because I know the US will not do what it takes to win simply because in the age of political correctness, what is required to win over there is much to unsavory. Since the objective of war is to win, sending kids into an unwinnable meat grinder is immoral, my two oldest sons included.

I used to sit in the cheap seats way in back on weekly VTCs with Mr. Rumsfeld. He is an arrogant, pompous, ruthless tyrant who completely terrified the general officers who worked for him. He is utterly fearless and has the work ethic of an Olympic tri-athlete and a genius IQ. The man accomplished more than what the previous three or four SECDEFs did in their tenure, but left a lot of ruined careers in his wake.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

"In hindsight, Iraq was a mistake, we should not have invaded. "

For a good many of us, both Iraq wars were mistakes well before they ever happened.

I'm sure that you'll be cheering the next military adventure on, comforted by the notion that you can someday say that, in hindsight, it's a pretty stupid idea.

tbaker 5 years, 10 months ago

Saddam had chemical weapons. I saw them with my own eyes. The insurgents (mistakenly) actually used them against us and ended killing themselves with nerve gas. He also had the factories to produce the stuff, saw that too. A vast stockpile of it got shipped to Syria when he finally figured out were really were coming for him, a fact which will be revealed in the years to come after Syria finally overthrows it's dictator and the books on that regeim get opened. Even though he once did, by the time we got there he had nothing in the way of WMDs on the magnitude the US, and the intelligence services of 21 other countries thought he had. Their information was valid in the months leading up to the war, but the WMDs were long gone and the intell was way out of date by the time we showed up. As opposed to hindsight of the sort that blindly hates all things Bush, the hindsight I speak of says invading to stop his WMD program was a huge intelligence failure. Of course demagoguery is always a substitute for ration discourse on this blog.

somedude20 5 years, 10 months ago

These cats (Rum/Colin/Bush/Rove) are all lucky they were not tried as war criminals! They are kinda trapped in the good ole USA though because if they set foot in another country, they could be arrested and tried as such. Repubs censure Eric Holder but gave the people who sent way too many Americans and Iraqis to an early grave a free pass and a Jay Hawk pin

Team American......

beatrice 5 years, 10 months ago

“We were fighting the first war of the information age,” he said.

How ironic given that it was a war waged over false information.

Jeremiah Jefferson 5 years, 10 months ago

Rumsfeld is a war criminal. These wars aren't about doing whats right for Iraq and Afghanistan. Its about making money for the defense industry, the oil industry and feeding America's relentless hunger for fossil fuels. Thats the bottom line. Far as I am concerned, win or loose, the job is finished in Iraq and Afghanistan so get our service men and women out and home where they belong. Its been too long.

Jayhawk1958 5 years, 10 months ago

A very, very, bad man. Can't understand why he's not in jail. He deserves to be in a muslim torture chamber.

Abdu Omar 5 years, 10 months ago

He deserves to be in Hell. And he was paid money to lie to us again!

verity 5 years, 10 months ago

I wonder how much different this would have been if we still had a draft. How well I remember the days when we did.

tbaker 5 years, 9 months ago

Its much easier politically to wage endless wars with an all-volunteer force. Conscripts complain too much, and potential conscripts tend to protest and riot if the war goes on too long.

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