Rumsfeld admits `possible` Iraq troop mistakes

Last Updated: Monday, February 7, 2011 - 22:08

Washington: Former US defence secretary
Donald Rumsfeld said in an interview on Monday the world was
better off without Saddam Hussein but conceded his troop
decisions in the Iraq war may have been wrong.

In his first television interview since leaving public
life in December 2006 after a long and divisive tenure at the
Pentagon, Rumsfeld also ripped into some of George W. Bush`s
closest advisers, saying Condoleezza Rice lacked experience
and Colin Powell showed poor management skills.

The television appearance is part of Rumsfeld`s effort
to promote his new memoir, "Known Unknown," which is due to be
released tomorrow and which recounts his career in government
spanning Republican presidents from Richard Nixon to George W.
Bush.

The ex-defence chief was reluctant to endorse his
former boss`s assessment that the decision to draw down US
troops shortly after the 2003 invasion of Iraq was "the most
important failure in the execution of the war."

"I don`t have enough confidence to say that that`s
right. I think that it`s possible," Rumsfeld told ABC News
anchor Diane Sawyer.

"We had (an) enormous number of troops ready to go in.

They had -- we had off-ramps, if they weren`t needed.

"It`s hard to know... You know, the path you didn`t
take is always smoother," he said.

Rumsfeld, who served as Bush`s defence chief for six
years after holding the the same job under president Gerald
Ford in the 1970s, acknowledged that "in a war, many things
cost lives."

But he had no regrets about his leadership for the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- the latter now nearing its
10th anniversary.

"I think the world`s a better place with Saddam
Hussein gone and with the Taliban gone and the Al-Qaeda out of
Afghanistan," Rumsfeld said, insisting the Bush administration
made only an "incremental" move toward invading Iraq in the
wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

PTI



First Published: Monday, February 7, 2011 - 22:08

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