- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 20, 2011

Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Sunday pushed back against suggestions that President Obama is more popular overseas than former President George W. Bush and slammed the current occupant of the White House for “trying to apologize for America.”

Mr. Rumsfeld, the George W. Bush-era Pentagon chief who is promoting a new memoir, also defended the initial troop levels in Afghanistan as enough and conceded that the United States “probably” would not have invaded Iraq if the nation knew there were no weapons of mass destruction there.

“I think he has made a practice of trying to apologize for America,” Mr. Rumsfeld said of Mr. Obama on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “I personally am proud of America.”

Mr. Rumsfeld, who led the Defense Department from 2001 until his resignation in 2006, said the president “had not accomplished a thing” when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in late 2009. “It was given to him on hope. Had to have been cause there wasn’t anything that he’d done. He’d been in office 15 minutes,” he said.


Asked if the world views America in a more positive light under the Obama administration, Mr. Rumsfeld said he doesn’t think “there’s data that would support that.”

“I could be wrong, but I honestly don’t think it’s correct,” he said.

Mr. Rumsfeld said the Taliban resurfaced in Afghanistan because they’re “determined” and “vicious” — not because there weren’t enough troops sent to the country.

“They simply move into another country, go into neighboring countries,” he said. “Or disappear or just become quiet and not be active. And the minute they have an opportunity, they come back.”

On weapons of mass destruction, Mr. Rumsfeld acknowledged that an Iraqi defector known as “Curveball” who was a CIA informant lied to U.S. intelligence-gatherers in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

“The intelligence community talks to hundreds of people,” he said. “Some are honest; some are dishonest. Some do it for money; some do it for self-aggrandizement. Some do it, apparently, to lie.”

Asked if the United States would have invaded the nation in 2003 had it known there were no weapons of mass destruction, Mr. Rumsfeld said, “That’s probably right.”