Exclusive — Donald Rumsfeld on ‘Ideological’ War on Terrorism: ‘To Pretend It’s Not a Violent Radical Strain of Muslim Faith Is Utter Nonsense’

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tells Breitbart News exclusively that the way to win the war on terror is defeating Islamists “ideologically,” similar to the Cold War against Communism, and that the litany of attacks that have been occurring clearly come from a “violent radical strain of the Muslim faith.”

Rumsfeld told Breitbart News regarding the threat of radical Islamic terrorism:

The only way you can deal with it is to identify it and engage all elements of national power and large collections of countries and purposefully go at it over a period of years just as we did Communism. You have to defeat it ideologically. You have to defeat it physically. You have to find the countries that are supporting it and chase down their bank accounts and stop the financial flow of dollars and resources to terrorists. And you have to combat it ideologically. And to pretend it’s not a violent radical strain of the Muslim faith is utter nonsense. That’s self-defeating. This president and this administration have been abominable in misunderstanding and miscommunication and delayed dealing with it in a way that has been harmful in terms of lives and blood and treasure and time.

Rumsfeld’s comments come in the wake of the latest attack, on Thursday night in Nice, France, after a several-year-long period of a growing number of attacks on the United States and Western European nations. Deadly attacks have occurred in recent weeks and months in Orlando, Florida, San Bernardino, California, Paris, and Brussels.

“If you think about it, a terrorist can attack at any time in any place using any technique,” Rumsfeld tells Breitbart News.

And it’s physically impossible to defend at every place at every time of the day or night against every conceivable technique. When I was President Reagan’s Middle East envoy and spent time in the Middle East, the U.S. embassy and the British embassy were attacked—the barracks, the marine barracks at the airport in Beirut were attacked by a truck coming in with explosives, and blew up the building and killed a large number of marines and navy corpsman, and when that happened people started to put revetments around these buildings so that a truck can’t get in there. And they’d create an outer perimeter. Then what the terrorists would do is they’d shoot rocket-propelled grenades. And then at that point, along the Corniche in Beirut, they started draping wire mesh over the building to bounce the rocket-propelled grenades off so that they wouldn’t blow up the building. Then, of course, the terrorists would then attack soft targets of people going to and from work. So thinking you could defend against it in every place at every time is historically inaccurate. You can’t.

Rumsfeld, 84, was the first Secretary of Defense during President George W. Bush’s administration, serving from its early days in 2001 until mid-December 2006. He has served in several senior positions in GOP administrations throughout the past several decades, from being Richard Nixon’s ambassador to NATO to Gerald Ford’s White House chief of staff and Secretary of Defense to being Ronald Reagan’s Middle East Envoy and more.

Rumsfeld’s interview, conducted via phone, comes as the Republican National Convention here is about to kick off here in Cleveland. More from the interview—where he talked about presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, the 2016 presidential election, more on national security matters, and his new Churchill Solitaire iPhone and Android game modeled after Winston Churchill’s strategic rendition on the popular card game—is forthcoming.


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