Donald Rumsfeld is out pushing his new memoir Known and Unknown and he stopped by Charlie Rose for a chat last night. Rose asked the two-time former Secretary of Defense for his opinion on the President's decision to send special forces into Pakistan to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.
Remember, former Defense Secretary Bob Gates called the decision to send troops, and not just bomb the compound, a "gutsy decision." Rose asked Rumsfeld for his thoughts.
Rose: Do you think it was a gutsy call by the president?
Rumsfeld: I don't
According to Rumsfeld, the possible intelligence cache and the fact that there was a "40%-80%" possibility that Bin Laden was in the compound made the call a no-brainer. The president took a whole night to sleep on the decision. Rumsfeld agrees with the president's call, but he says it would have taken him fifteen minutes.
Rumsfeld: "It seems to me that it is a fifteen minute decision and the first fourteen are for coffee"
Nothing like a little arm-chair quarterbacking from the guy responsible for the just-ended war in Iraq and the ongoing war on Afghanistan. (See the video starting at around 21:45) Remember, Rumsfeld had his own opportunity to take out bin Laden in the mountains of Tora Bora, but was either unable or unwilling to pull the trigger (as 60 minutesdocumented a few years ago)
The officer who led the armys Delta Force mission to kill Osama bin Laden after 9/11 reveals what really happened in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, when the al-Qaeda leader narrowly escaped. Scott Pelley reports.
Delta developed an audacious plan to come at bin Laden from the one direction he would never expect."We want to come in on the back door," Fury explains. "The original plan that we sent up through our higher headquarters, Delta Force wants to come in over the mountain with oxygen, coming from the Pakistan side, over the mountains and come in and get a drop on bin Laden from behind." But they didn't take that route, because Fury says they didn't get approval from a higher level. "Whether that was Central Command all the way up to the president of the United States, I'm not sure," he says.The next option that Delta wanted to employ was to drop hundreds of landmines in the mountain passes that led to Pakistan, which was bin Laden's escape route."First guy blows his leg off, everybody else stops. That allows aircraft overhead to find them. They see all these heat sources out there. Okay, there a big large group of Al Qaeda moving south. They can engage that," Fury explains.But they didn't do that either, because Fury says that plan was also disapproved. He says he has "no idea" why. "How often does Delta come up with a tactical plan that's disapproved by higher headquarters?" Pelley asks."In my experience, in my five years at Delta, never before," Fury says.
"He took something that was a unifying event for all Americans – an event that Gov. Romney congratulated him and the military and the intelligence analysts in our government for completing the mission in terms of killing Osama bin Laden – and he’s managed to turn it into a divisive partisan political attack.”
So the party that uses the elephant as its symbol may have no memory, but the rest of us all remember how Republicans milked the horror of 9/11 in an attempt to paint U.S. Senator and decorated Vietnam veteran John Kerry as unfit to be commander-in-chief in 2004.
And the GOP continued to exploit 9/11 four years later, showing this video at the 2008 Republican National Convention that nominated McCain for president (and Sarah Palin for vice president. Wait, Palin was fit for vice president in '08, but Kerry wasn't fit for the presidency in '04?? OK, we'll save that for another post):
“I just recommend that everybody take a look at people’s previous statements in terms of what they thought was appropriate to go into Pakistan and take out bin Laden,” Obama said at a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
“I assume that people meant what they said when they said it. If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they would do something else, then I would go ahead and let them explain it.”
But Romney is so "against politicizing 9/11" that he's planning to appear at event tomorrow with former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani here in New York.
And that announcement prompted us to make another trip down memory – to Vice President Joe Biden's classic 2007 quote that may have destroyed Giuliani's chances for national political office.
"Rudy Giuliani. There's only three things he mentions in a sentence -- a noun, a verb, and 9/11. There's nothing else! There's nothing else!" Biden said during a MSNBC presidential debate (when Biden was a senator running for the presidency):
Shorter Hannity: I got nothin. Obviously, Hannity is in way over his head here. This goes well beyond his normal level of anti-Obama derangement. In fact, there is so much to say about his response that we won't get into it here.
We'll respond tonight on the big show at 8p Eastern!