Interview with Donald H. Rumsfeld, Former Defense Secretary – Part 1 of 2
Donald Rumsfeld has lived a remarkable life: Champion wrestler at Princeton. Naval aviator. Four-term congressman from Illinois. White House Chief of Staff under two presidents. American representative to NATO. Winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the age of 35. Successful private-sector CEO. Service as both the youngest, and then decades later as the oldest secretary of defense. Husband of more than half a century. Father of three. Grandfather of six.
If there was ever anyone who has earned a weighty autobiography, it’s Donald Rumsfeld. His memoir Known and Unknown is both the story of his life and a window into recent American history.
Still quick and spry and playing squash (thanks in part to new titanium joints) as he approaches his 80th birthday next month, Rumsfeld keeps a schedule equal to men half his age. He sat down recently with The Daily Caller’s Ginni Thomas to talk about his book, the proceeds from which go to help military families, his new digital archive www.rumsfeld.com, and events in the news.
What are the best traits for leaders, specifically the president of the United States?
“There are people who might not be perfect in one period of our history and yet would be probably quite acceptable in another period of our history.”
On President Obama’s mistakes to date:
“He made the mistake of running against the structures that President Bush put in place to keep the American people safe.”
What are the biggest threats to our nation right now?
“The biggest threat … is the toxic combination … of the difficulty of gathering intelligence and the lethality of weapons of mass destruction. The combination of those things mean that the leadership’s margin for error is very modest.”
Has the Obama administration released too information following the death of Osama bin Laden?
“There’s been a notable lack of discipline or judgment. It runs the risk of putting military people’s lives at risk.”
What are the dangers of isolationism for the U.S.?
“The vacuum that would be created if the United States turned inward would be harmful for the United States politically, economically and militarily.”
On potential cuts to the military budget:
“Deficits are not coming from the Defense Department, they’re coming from entitlements.”
Are we losing our national sovereignty to those who favor one-world government?
“To the extent we subjugate our values to a world judgment I think we make a mistake.”
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Look for part two of the interview coming soon only at The Daily Caller.
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