tv [untitled] CSPAN June 28, 2009 6:30am-7:00am EDT
was quite a bit. the plan had been done, thrown out of the windows at the time. there is very little planning for the afghan war. in fact it was a cia plan the president first embraced to link up with the afghan militias and the northern alliance against the taliban. host: here is cleveland. good morning on the republic mine. caller: i was curious if you were able to determine whether his political philosophy was influenced by having been surrounded by so many people, people strongly influenced by certain philosophers and military strategists who would
be considered by conservatives. was he influenced by that group? did you agreed they were corrected? guest: that is an interesting question. his relationship with the neocons is in the bottom part of his time a secretary because he ended up surrounded by a number of very prominent members of the neo-conservative community including his deputy, the chief of policy positions at the pentagon. but he himself is not a neo- conservative. many of his views overlap. they depart -- that is in one critical area which is the notion of spreading democracy around the world.
he was always uncomfortable with that notion, particularly as a rationale for going to war against iraq. he argued to keep it out of frederick just find the invasion. he was not successful. the white house -- to keep it out of the rhetoric just a fine condition. the white house embrace their rhetoric along with weapons of mass destruction. i questioned him on why he was so surrounded with new kinneocod he had no convincing answer. but it did not seem to me as if it were a strategy on his part he explained it as the result of his taking the advice of white house officials and the choice of wolfowitz, and then dave, and
so on. guest: he, the quebec quite a few years. they had served together on various groups and commissions. -- they went back quite a few years. host: here is chicago on the independent line. caller: yes, i want to say i support what president obama has been doing. he had ice-cream on saturday and went off and on sunday. i enjoyed those activities myself. thank you. host: banks. westchester, new york, caroline on the democrats' line. caller: good morning. i was wondering how mr. bradley graham felt when he found out that donald rumsfeld, wolfowitz in the other neocons promoted
saddam hussein, kept telling us that he had these weapons of mass destruction when the man was contained for 12 years? now they have ridden off into the sunset with big money in their bank accounts. i like to know when they're going to give some of the money back to the american people because now we are suffering? guest: concerning weapons of mass destruction, clearly that is misjudgment. bush and all the other officials will have to continue to address that misjudgment of the weapons of mass destruction. donald rumsfeld did believe that report.
of all the senior officials if he should have known better or at least question that intelligence more aggressively than he did. he tried to warn against believing too much in the conventional wisdom, not challenging enough assumptions and intelligence reports. he was very fond of disturbing to people the preface of a book on pearl harbor which warns against falling into this kind of conventional thinking and not challenging conventional wisdom sufficiently, and yet here was a case where rumsfeld himself did not seem to question is enough. host: moments ago we showed the picture it from your books of his meeting saddam hussein.
guest: the meeting occurred in december 1983 when he says served as a presidential envoy richard when he served as the convoy president reagan to the middle east. he was instructed by the reagan administration to facilitate the resumption of ties with iraq that had been ruptured during the iraq/iran war. both were interested then had resuming those ties. it would be a way to offset the influence of iran in the region. it seemed like a good idea at the time. 20 years later it was
embarrassing to have those pictures circulating and his shaking hands with saddam hussein. host: here is a picture of him with colin powell and was secretary rest. what was his relationship with them? guest: his relationships with them were both strain. particularly on policy questions. on personal terms he could be engaging and courteous. there were tremendous tensions between donald rumsfeld and colin powell on a broad range of possible new there was a lot of gamesmanship and the billing. he would needle powell at meetings. sometimes to pick on his pronunciation of the capital of
afghanistan. powell who is no slouch in self we get back at him, his well-worn suits. he was critical for management of the national security council. host: did you talk to either for this book? guest: yes, to one of them. caller: good morning, gentlemen. of like to ask the author, part of the problem with his reputation comes from the fact that no matter how good of the secretary of defense to become if you want to be a true agent of change to go in with lighter forces, change the mentality, you sometimes take some of that in the end of your reputation is not what it would
have been if you have gone with the flow -- if you take so many pins and pricks. guest: i think this through to some extent. he was found not to be popular to try to change one of the most high-bound bureaucracies and institutions in washington, but there are also ways more effective to bring about change. what he is often criticized for an poorly what got him into trouble was his style. he could be needlessly offensive, abrasive. at least that is how many would go with them felt. host: maryland, next on the democrats' line. caller: good morning, i have always been troubled by the remark that he made to a young soldier, telling him and asking him also i believe about the
equipment. and not been supplied with the equipment that should have been on the field. donald rumsfeld said to him after hesitating, you go to war with what you've got. to me that was insensitive. i hope you address that somewhere in your book if not now. guest: i do talk about that at length. we talked about that earlier in the program. he has never regretted that the statement, but feels it was taken out of context. if you read the whole statement he does show more empathy. when he returned to washington he did send off a number of memos to senior officials trying to do better on this issue. host: you wrote that scowcroft
continued to have contact with them over several subsequent decades. he says to this day he does not really know what donald rumsfeld things. he said he had a chance to watch his mind opera. he said for anyone else he had a picture of who they are. he said he has no idea of what makes him mark, what makes him the way that he is. after doing this book on him do you have an idea? guest: i have something of a better idea, but cannot say i thoroughly understand him. he is very complicated. that is what has continued to fascinate me about him. he is like jekyll and hyde. he has a very tough, hard it-
charging side to him that got him into trouble. it also made him effective in business. on the other hand he can be very affable, a genial, personable. he has an old world courtesy about him. it never quite knew which donald rumsfeld would show up sometimes. at least i never did in my dealings with him. there are times when he seemed genuine, forthcoming, other times he could beat icy, cold, shut down a line of questioning if he didn't want to go somewhere. he seems very self-aware. the were examples. i mention this in the book where he would have addressed down some senior officer in front of a group of others. he would be very harsh. afterwards another senior official might take him aside and say you know, sir, you might
have been a little too tough on this person. he would acknowledge that and maybe give the person a phone call. not apologize, but at least try to soften a little. he is self-aware, but why he did not bring himself in more remains somewhat of a viking. host: this is on our republican line. caller: all want to touch more on this idea does neo- conservatives' influence, in talking about democracy in making democracy around the. i find that to be a fallacy because it was not what they wanted. that was simply for public consumption here in this country. it sounds good because we have a so-called democracy. we think it would be wonderful
one of the rationales. host: here is texas on the independent line. no, to ardmore, oklahoma. caller: yes? all right. yes, it seems to me like this fellow should be writing a book about adolf hitler if he wants to white something over. this donald rumsfeld is the biggest creek ever in government especially with his old bush bed buddies and all. it is a shame no one can write something good about someone up in host: congress you write that he was the most influential secretary since robert mcnamara. how did the two compare? guest: i talk a little about the
comparison me know there are similarities. the book came into the job, the top pentagon job from business. they were eager to make change and the pentagon. the book quickly made many waves, made many enemies and they were seen as overbearing. there were surrounded by a number of aids who were of similar mind and manner. they both ended up fleeing the united states into very unpopular wars. -- leading to the united states into unpopular wars. there is a difference between the two men in their mind set when they have left office. by the time robert mcnamara had left he was beginning to have doubts and express them concerning the vietnam war. not so with donald rumsfeld, but he may in time come to
express regret. he did not with me. i pressed him on a particularly in our last interview last fall. he left office the number -- i mean, he left office older than it robert mcnamara was when he left office. robert mcnamara has had more time to reflect. so, we will see where donald rumsfeld finally comes down. host: and he is working on his own autobiography? guest: he is, he is. it is a little surprising because for many years he showed little interest in that kind of book. in fact, he often denigrated other memoirs, particularly those that go with events in which he was involved. he felt the authors did not quite capture the events as he remembered. he wants to write -- he is
concerned about writing a book that others think would be inaccurate or self-serving and might think less of him. he told me one time he had read catherine graham's autobiography and was quite scared by it. it was a very frank book and won a pulitzer prize. but its frankness scared rumsfeld. whether he can bring himself to be as honest is still an open question. host: did you get a chance to interview former vice-president dick cheney about this book? guest: i did interview him twice about donald rumsfeld. not surprisingly big jenny still defends the line he gave about rumsfled end the farewell sermon. he calls in the best secretary of defense ever and thinks his
hard-charging style was just what what was needed to bring about change. host: here are a couple more calls. this is the republican lead. caller: thank you. i wanted to ask your guest if he has ever heard of the situation -- march 2003 when the war began -- where it a country with inspectors on the ground could go off to iraq not signing anything, have they ever started a war like that? i remember in the first world war for the shot the austrian die and the the austrians demanded to go into serbia to look for the conspirators. that was the reason austria began the war because serbia would not let them go in. guest: well, they genuinely believe there would be weapons of mass destruction i don't think there were inventing that rationale.
one of donald rumsfeld's more embarrassing moments even a couple of months into the war where he was insisting the new where the weapons of mass destruction were and it was only a matter of time before it they would be found -- he genuinely believed it. host: good morning to florida on the in the pan and line. caller: thank you. -- the independent line. caller: first, when he was a is generated and then return to the oval office, the inside was the staff of the regime, under gerald ford. to say that they were not neocons at the beginning of the era is ridiculous.
secondly, in terms of the directive he was trying to enforce or accomplish from george w. bush with regard to military was what? i heard he was trying to install privatization which he did wonderfully in the army and pentagon. guest: i was not saying that wolfowitz, pearl, fife were not neconocons, but rumsfeld was noa car-carrying trouble. he found it useful to be associated with them some. . to have them in his upper ranks
at the pentagon was also useful. but he was not a card-carrying neo-conservative. as for transformation, there is a lot to be included under what he intended. part of the problem was that by the time he left it was a buzzword that the meeting seemed to encompass almost anything anyone wanted it to was trying to affect change at the pentagon. host: he was an eagle scout. but you wrote that he almost quit? guest: he did almost quit. he was very involved in scouting throughout his high school career and is now very proud of the fact he stayed at it.
he was not going to be a quitter and was determined to see it through. and one of the things that kept him in scouting in a tight-knit stocking group there in the chicago area where he grew up -- scouting group were the various dynamics with a scout leaders who stood with the boys throughout the years. host: a couple of more calls for bradley graham. good morning, the san bernardino, california. caller: i have a statement and then a comment. there you republicans go again read the writing history try to make your face less horrific.
did donald rumsfeld, is he one of the people, because you touched on that earlier, the reason he knew that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction is because he helped to either sell or give it to saddam hussein? to use against iran? and is any portion of this book going to charities to help the families? guest: i am not aware of his ever profiting from the sales of weapons of mass destruction, or elements to iraq or anybody else. so far there are no precedents of this book to give to anybody. i want to say -- there are no proceeds of the book to give to
anybody yet. some callers to sound critical of it rumsfeld. i think my book overall is pretty critical of him, but the does attempt a nuanced view of him because he is a complicated character. it is important to understand where he was responsible for things alone, where the blame is to be shared, and in some cases where .