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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 22, 2009 11:00pm-11:30pm EDT

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he might have known and what he was planning about resigning or not, why the president decided finally after months and months of resisting advice from others to replace and why bush finally decided to do so and so i felt it was important to frame the story of his life by starting at the end. >> host: the book is on donald rumsfeld, bradley graham, "by his own rules." first louisianan on the independent line. good morning. >> caller: good morning. thank you, c-span, of weeks of the people. i just wanted to add donald rumsfeld as president ceo of the corporation, and 83 into the public domain it cost several
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million people to die from brain tumors. i wonder if he feels like he is responsible for those deaths. >> guest: the product aspirating commonly known as nutrasweet now found in thousands and thousands of products as an artificial sweetener from soda pop to chewing gum, it remains controversy all and i am no expert on the scientific findings but my understanding is that the great predominance of evidence has not established any link between aspertane and nutrasweet and the deaths you speak of and rumsfeld to this day remains proud of having brought the product to market. it had been in kind of the fda regulatory limbo when rumsfeld
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took over and he tried very hard to get to market that and was ultimately successful. >> host: you're right as part of his tenure at general instruments the company was instrumental in the event of hdtv. >> guest: that's right, rumsfeld has quite the impressive career in business having been a sort of agent of change taking companies like general instrument before that that were struggling making them turnaround and successful in bringing to market these very significant projects like the early days of hdtv and nutrasweet. >> host: but he didn't enter private industry until well into his 40's he had been in government in some sort. would he have been happy to stay in the government service to you think? >> guest: i think he would have and he just didn't see an opportunity at the end of the ford administration to either run for the senate or governor at that point.
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it wasn't quite ready to run for president then. and he also believed in people moving back-and-forth between government and industry. >> host: let's here from florida this is still faster. good morning on the republican line. go ahead, sylvester. >> caller: good morning. >> host: you're on the democrats' line, correct? >> yes, sir. >> host: do us a favor, we are going to put you on hold. make sure you turn down your television or radio so you don't feed back. good morning marcus. >> caller: good morning how are we doing? >> host: fine, thanks. >> caller: i was listening to help donald rumsfeld ar originally had some presidential aspirations. are we looking forward to seeing rumsfeld run at presidents the next four years and as well as far as some of his responsibilities does he ever -- has ever admitted to responsibility or that we should
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have sent more troops in on the ground when we first invaded iraq or is it something that was kind of crossover? >> guest: as for the future presidential ambitions, i think those are behind rumsfeld. he has no intention that he shared with me of coming back into the government let alone running for president. he is spending much of his time working on his own memoir due out late next year. no, he has not expressed any regrets or second thoughts about the troop level initio. we will probably hear more from him about that in his book. i deal with it at length in my book. he was not the only one of arguing for the holding the line on troops and bring them down in iraq. it was a position favored by his top generals and iraq at the
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time and they all shared the view that it would be better to try to turn over responsibility for security as quickly as possible to the iraqi and to bring down the u.s. forces as quickly as possible. >> host: let's hear from a republican collar, shannon from detroit. good morning. go ahead. >> caller: i'm calling because i wanted to talk about donald rumsfeld and i believe the reason he was actually forced out of office comes from what i would say 9/11, the attacks at the world trade center and everything and they say that in certain reports he pulls on the other side of -- >> host: the pentagon? >> guest >> caller: yes, the pentagon. and when he was on the other side of the pentagon everything
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that we had taken place and they believed he had something to do with it. >> host: why don't you follow up what was his response and how did 9/11 affect donald rumsfeld both personally and from the policy point of view? >> guest: i had a very profound effect on rumsfeld. rumsfeld was on the other side of the pentagon from where the american airlines flight had hit on september 11, and his immediate response was to run outside the building to see what happened and he spent a few minutes actually helping trying to deal with victims and so long before running back into the building and joining other top administration officials and planning their response to the disaster. he, like other top officials of the bush out ministration of course never forgot that day and gave him more than anything and even greater sense of urgency than he had before that date in
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terms of trying and to effect change in the u.s. military. he came into the job as the defense secretary with a main assignment from george bush to transform the u.s. military and he was pushing for that before 1911 but afterwards, that whole mission gained even greater urgency >> host: we are going to take a look at one of the comments, one of the briefings donald rumsfeld held that the pentagon and this is response to the question about back when he did the kuwait troup town meeting and said basically you go to war with the army you have common of the army that you want. this was the response couple of weeks later to one of the reporters' questions. i want to get your reaction to this. >> i'm saddened by the fault anyone could have the impression of i or others year or doing anything author and working urgently to see that the lives of the fighting men and women
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are protected and cared for in every way humanly possible. and i hope and pray every family member of those who have died so bravely know how deeply i feel their loss. when i meet with the wounded, with their families or families of those who have been lost their grief is something i feel to the core. >> host: those are very personal moments to the policy critics of his policies. >> host: those remarks to the troops are among those people remember the most about rumsfeld. he was upset with the way those remarks were reported, he thought they were taken out of context if you read his remarks he argues he showed more sympathy, more understanding for the position the troops were in. but nonetheless, the tallman
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what he was saying did resonate with the troops there and throughout the military and seemed to reinforce the image of him as insensitive and somewhat uncaring. he did come back from that visit and fired off a few memos and i report them for the first time in the book, the memos to the senior command say and we are not doing enough on this former issue and he started setting certain deadlines for when all the vehicles had to be properly equipped so he was certainly bothered, but their reaction to those comments had tremendous sycophants in washington in the political world as some republicans began to july and democrats in questioning whether rumsfeld should remain as defense secretary. >> host: or because a series
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of pictures of rumsfeld. for the test hearings he testified. you said he spent four terms as a, did he feel comfortable on the hill as the secretary defense? >> guest: rumsfeld's hand gestures or so much of a part of the way that he speaks and they go way back, too. even when he was in the nixon white house there was stories how he would talk with his hands he was very good on the hill in terms of his performances, but he had terrible strains with a number of key members of congress that did not serve him well and it was one of the greatest paradox is about his
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time or one of the things that puzzled his aide's most is why he didn't seem to make more effort and wasn't able to get along better with the members of congress. he seemed sometimes to purposefully alienate them, and i think it is one of the major factors that contributed to his downfall. >> host: here is florida, sylvester to war on the line. >> caller: yes, sir. >> host: go ahead with your question for bradley graham. >> caller: i just want to know if tom rumsfeld were president now how do you think he would respond to the government and protesters? >> guest: that is purely speculative of course. he for all of his toughness and plainspoken mr. mcmanus i think rumsfeld also had a kind of inter compass particularly when
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facing dicey situations and this sense sometimes of how far to go and when not to go too far. for instance when he was the secretary of defense, he was very weary about taking military action against al qaeda and taliban terrorist in pakistan for the fear of disabled and others in the government. >> host: have a question from the twitter. could your guest comment on rumsfeld's role in watergate, what was his role? >> guest: his role in watergate? well, rumsfeld although he served senior positions in the nixon administration, he was able to east cape much of the watergate. he was overseas as ambassador to nato and the time that the watergate scandal broke.
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however, he was quite involved with nixon's political operations and doing as i write in the book doing various political favors and activities and he was very close to mitchell, two of nixon's top political operatives who were implicated. >> host: you write in the book about donald rumsfeld being influenced by the speech by the democratic adamle stevenson. how did all of rumsfeld wind up being a republican? >> guest: he came from a very conservative district, the north shore of chicago, and he couldn't have gotten elected if he were a conservative. but he was sent in neoconservative. sometimes people confuse him as being a part of that community.
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he was always quite mainline conservative and what is also interesting some people may be surprised to learn is that by he was younger and congress particularly he had an image as a moderate republican, reformer, he actually led a group that can to be known as rumsfeld's readers in challenging some of the republican old guard that had been in charge of the leadership. >> host: you also write at a point in this transformation process was not going the way that some conservative critics wanted that at one point i believe in august of 2,001 rather bill kristol, the editor of the weekly standard called for donald rumsfeld and paul wolfowitz resignation. >> guest: that's right there was a time of few months into his tenure when rumsfeld was blight we speculated to be the first cabinet casualty of the bush administration because he would come into office he
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charged with the transforming military that he was taking his time about organizing a lot of study groups, taking arguing with congress about the direction of change and some were just not happy with how for the change was happening. it was 9/11 and the war in afghanistan that saved rumsfeld. >> host: pavilion york is next. mark, independent call. >> caller: good morning. could the american people control the budgets for all of the military, the pentagon, what do those total and you often talk about politicians often talk about public service but yet the revolving door that these people and the staff of
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the politicians and up the went to work directly or indirectly for these military suppliers. they talk public service all the time but the fact is it's primarily personal gain and this is the problem in this country. thank you. >> guest: the defense budget now is over half a trillion dollars. it's continued to rise through this decade. even not counting the costs of the war in iraq, the war in afghanistan or the war on terrorism which of course have added significant billions of dollars. as for the revolving door, it occurs i don't think that is the reason for the rise in defense
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spending. >> host: he has led fairly easily into public service and private industry back-and-forth given the tenure of the times today, is that sort of position possible ability to do that possible? >> guest: it's possible they are trying to put additional controls about that. look, i mean, if it is a technical area certainly the experience counts. and i don't think we want to completely close the door either for those who have experience in the defense industry to come in to the government or those in government to be able to go into defense first. >> host: among the many photographs of the secretary rumsfeld with george casey and iraq and here with joint chiefs chair the former chair and here
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with troops also at a town hall meeting in iraq in 2005. how was he viewed by troops and the general staff? >> guest: he generally got very good browsing receptions when he went to see the troops. the episode we mentioned earlier about the armor in kuwait was the exception where the troops seem to ask particularly poignant questions of him, explanation may be a grip largely made up of reservists. and it was further into the war as well and a lot of resentment and frustrations were building but he generally was well received by the troops and so he enjoyed visiting with the troops all over and having these town hall meetings. his relations with the generals were more mixed.
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and one of the things writing the book that most impressed me was going back to some of the senior officers with whom rumsfeld brought along the best and hearing them describe the relationships reflect on their dealings with rumsfeld and even those like general abizaid and durham clark the head of the navy, even those who had the reputation for having figured out how to deal with rumsfeld had very mixed feelings about the relationship they had. >> host: did most when you asked for interviews give good access? >> guest: i can't complain about the access and i also zero rumsfeld thanks for that. he opened a number of stores with different appeal. it was helpful also to be able to go back and talk to both former officials and retired military officers after they had left and had time to reflect.
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>> host: question from to utter regarding his resignation who was the group that supported him and who was against him? >> guest: basically by the time he sat down about his only major supporter in the administration ballistic cheney. of course that relationship goes back years because rumsfeld brought cheney into the executive branch in the early days of the nixon administration when rumsfeld hundred cheney to be the chief of staff of economic opportunity so they worked close and had a long time relationship but their plight and in the bush administration, rumsfeld had very few the bases of support either within the administration or congress or the senior military ranks. >> host: why did the president wait until after the elections to accept his resignation? >> guest: everything i was told by the top people the president was adamant about waiting even though he seemed to have made up his mind that rumsfeld needed to be replaced
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made up before the election and sent in motion planning for how the resignation would be announced and so on. bush was insistent that the news not come until after the election because he didn't want to seem like it was being politically motivated by he was trying to help republican candidates. there were a lot of republican candidates after the fact they were quite upset bush hadn't moved sooner because it was felt that in republican circles rumsfeld sat departure might have helped save some republican candidates. >> host: bradley graham is the guest, "by his own rules" released today. washington, d.c., good morning to ralph on the democrats' line. >> caller: congratulations on your new book. i think you ought to market on the fiction ultimate universe. first of all when you said something about the general
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supporting rumsfeld, rumsfeld fired every general who told him he needed 3,000 troops to pass iraq. he wanted to go on the 75,000 fired shinseki and other generals so you either agree with me or you were out the door. he was completely dominating. he was also talking about these mushroom cloud destruction and the entire structure of the united states, you are all going to get scared. he also put dissipated in finding the document called project for a new american sentry which basically said we should dominate the middle east and anything less than a pearl harbor type of event will not motivate the united states to the walls and attack afghanistan. >> host: lots there, we will get the response. thanks for the call. >> guest: rumsfeld, just to correct the record did not fire
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general shinseki although it is commonly thought that he did. actively he didn't fire any general. the only person he fired was the army secretary tom white, and number of people feel perhaps he should have fired more people. bob gates, his successor, is now dismissed. the number is six senior officials. he did pull the rug out from under shinseki by allowing the word to be publicized 18 months or so early of whom shinseki would be replaced with at the end of his term as army chief of staff but shinseki was allowed to serve his term. there's no question there was a lot of strains between rumsfeld and general shinseki and other members of the joint chiefs of staff, the feeling sidelined by
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rumsfeld he could be very overbearing, very domineering. but there are a number of four-star officers, and other officers who also are that way. it is a tough culture, and i think when you look closely as i try to do in this book at a number of the major decisions you can see that as much as rumsfeld is to blame for many things that went wrong there were a number of senior officers who could have done more to stand up, either stand up to him or also to be blamed for the misjudgments and miscalculations. >> host: you write about his wife and how many interviews did you have with her and what sort of advisory role did she have for dollar rumsfeld's courier? >> guest: i talked to her about five times, and she is a
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critical state your and rumsfeld's life. most important figure. they go back to high school when they first started dating. she is a tremendous help asset to him with. she is perfectly charming and engaging. very shrewd and her own way. >> host: she is also very blunt and honest with him on his career decisions and things like that >> guest: yes, always brought in to those decisions. she also had a certain appreciation for rumsfeld even at the height of popularity which was looking back around the time of the afghan war where he was the face of the united states war at that point and people by the millions would tune in and watch the news conferences. the president nixon named him and it was at that point that
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his wife, joyce, when talking to a group of military wives tried to bring in a certain sense of modesty to the whole situation and talked about she titled her speech the rock star and the coat and her point was sometimes the same person can be a rock star one day and go to the next because the public perceptions can change and sheep was certainly quite clear way and with regard to her husband. >> host: how much of the plans for those wars or preemptive planning was done before 9/11? >> guest: for the iraq war point it was the altar of the iraq war was thrown out the window at the time doug u.s. started planning the invasion. there was very little planning for the afghan war and in fact
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it was a cia plan that the president first embraced to link up with the afghan militias and the alliance against the taliban. >> host: here is cleveland. good morning to cindy on the republican line. >> caller: i was curious if you would be able to determine whether rumsfeld political philosophy and big picture outlook what influenced him in any way by having been surrounded by so many people just to name a few like mr. perle wolfowitz, elliott abrams, people influence by philosophers and military strategists that would be considered by conservatives did he agree in large part that they were correct? thank you.
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>> that is a very interesting question, and rumsfeld to relationship with the neocons i think is a very important part of his time as the secretary because he ended up surrounded by a number of prominent members of the neoconservatives committee. they included his deputy, paul wolfowitz, the chief of the top civilian policy official at the pentagon. douglas feith. but rumsfeld himself isn't a new conservative. many of his views might overlap. they do depart at one critical area which is the notion of spreading democracy around the world. rumsfeld is always very uncomfortable with that notion particular as a rationale for going to war against iraq and are due to try to keep it out of some of the rhetoric justify even the invasion.
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he wasn't particularly successful. the white house embraced that notion along with other rationales like weapons of mass destruction and so on, but i pressed rumsfeld and why it was that he ended up so surrounded by a neocons and he didn't have a very convincing answer to that but it didn't seem to me as if it was exactly a strategy on his part. he tended to explain it as the result of him taking the advice of white house officials and the choice of wolfowitz and then wolfowitz interim bringing douglas feith on board. >> host: how for did mr. wolfowitz and donald rumsfeld go back? >> guest: they went back and number of years. there were not particularly close friends but they served together on various groups and


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