If Gaddafi stays, US’ foes will get emboldened: Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld said Gaddafi`s longevity as leader will damage US prestige.
Pensacola: Former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said that if Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi remains in power, it will damage the prestige of the United States and embolden its enemies.
In an exclusive interview on `This Week` with ABC News, Rumsfeld said, "The fact is we are involved" in Libya. "And the prestige of the United States is involved."
"Think back to the Gulf War in the early 1990s," said Rumsfeld, who served as George W Bush`s defence secretary from 2001-2006. "Saddam Hussein, when it was over, said he had fought the mother of all battles and President George Herbert Walker Bush was gone, Margaret Thatcher was gone, and he was still in office. And the implication of that was that he had defeated the United States," he said.
Rumsfeld said from Pensacola, Florida, "Let there be no question: we`re now involved in Libya. And if Gaddafi stays on, he will feel he has fought the mother of all battles against the United States and it will be damaging to us just as our demeanour in Somalia was damaging, the situation in Lebanon was damaging and that will embolden others of his ilk."
He also explained that the question of Gaddafi`s longevity as leader of Libya had rippling effects.
"If you put yourself in the shoes of the rebels," he said, "they wonder whether or not the coalition has an interest in Gaddafi leaving. There’s a great deal of ambiguity about that."
"Gaddafi`s forces wonder whether Gaddafi will be leaving – and that same ambiguity affects their decision-making," he said. "Until that`s clarified, it seems to me, we`ll have a much more difficult time. I think the goal has to be that Gaddafi leaves.”