Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rumsfeld: No advice for incoming Gates

In what may be his final televised appearance prior to the end of his tenure as Secretary of Defense this Friday, Donald Rumsfeld said he had little advice to share with his successor Robert Gates.

Rumsfeld appeared on Fox News' Hannity and Colmes, whose Sean Hannity was the only member of the press allowed to accompany the retiring Secretary of Defense on his sudden weekend trip to Baghdad. The interview was recorded during the Iraq trip.

According to the Wall Street Journal's "Washington Wire" blog, when Hannity asked if Rumsfeld could suggest any advice to Robert Gates, who will succeed him, he responded that "I don’t have any advice for him." He then added "I have every confidence he will do a good job."

Rumsfeld was also asked by Hannity what he thought of the recent Iraq Study Group report submitted to President George W. Bush. The Secretary of Defense stated plainly "I've skimmed it," and offered no other commentary, according to National Journal's blog The Hotline On Call.

Hannity asked Rumsfeld how he would respond to Gates' assertion in his confirmation hearing that America was neither winning nor losing in Iraq. Rumsfeld in his response effectively blamed the media for the perception of violence in Iraq, according to the website News Hounds, which critiques Fox News on a daily basis:

"The metrics for winning and losing are very difficult. Today, the president’s being measured on the amount of violence in Iraq, basically in Baghdad – three or four provinces out of 18 in one country. That is not the measure, that is the wrong measure. If that were to be the only metric or measure of success or failure, my goodness, then you’ve given the game to the enemy. All they have to do is keep the violence up in Baghdad and the media that’s there will say. 'Oh my goodness, the terrorists are winning and everyone else is losing.' That’s not it."

Rumsfeld followed up these remarks by saying the President's success should be measured based on whether or not it is harder for Muslim extremists to recruit, raise money, and operate around the world. However, he gave no indication that it was in fact harder for terrorists to carry out the conduct he outlined.
Ultimately, Rumsfeld believed history would view his tenure with the conclusion that "an awful lot of right decisions were made."

Rumsfeld's full appearance can be viewed at the Hannity and Colmes website.


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