Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a key figure in the decisions to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan during George W. Bush's presidency, criticized President Barack Obama's response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, saying the president should either oust Syrian President Bashar Assad or "do nothing."
Speaking Tuesday at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich., Rumsfeld said the president's decision to ask Congress to approve a "limited and narrow" military strike on Syria makes the United States look "feckless."
"You either ought to change the regime or you ought to do nothing," Rumsfeld said, according to MLive. “Why would you go in and fire a shot across the bow? All it does is make a splash."
He continued, "What have you achieved? What you’ve probably achieved is the embarrassment of the United States for being feckless and ineffective. The last thing we ought to be sending out is a signal that there is a red line and we fired a shot across the bow."
"The president is not, in my view, providing the kind of leadership that I think almost any leadership in my lifetime would be providing," he said, according to WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.
The former defense secretary instead pointed to former presidents George W. Bush and Gerald Ford as examples of leadership.
"The thought of either one of those going off and playing golf.. It just wasn't part of their nature," he said.
Rumsfeld also appeared on Wednesday's "Fox & Friends," referring to Obama as the "so-called commander-in-chief."
"Did he need to go to Congress? No," Rumsfeld said. "Presidents as commander-in-chief have authority, but they have to behave like a commander-in-chief."
Rumsfeld had previously voiced his opposition to U.S. intervention in Syria.
"One thing that's very interesting, it seems to me, is that there really hasn't been any indication from the administration as to what our national interest is with respect to this particular situation," Rumsfeld told Fox Business Network last week.
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