Monday, 08 Jun 2015 07:19 PM
President George W. Bush was wrong to push democracy on Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld, his former secretary of defense says.
In an interview with The Times of London, one of the chief architects of the 2003 war against Iraq concedes the nation's seamless transition to democracy always seemed "unrealistic."
"I'm not one who thinks that our particular template of democracy is appropriate for other countries at every moment of their histories," Rumsfeld tells the Times.
"The idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic. I was concerned about it when I first heard those words."
Rumsfeld's comments are in stark contrast to his remarks in April 2003 in the wake of widespread looting in Iraq, when Rumsfeld famously declared: "Democracy is untidy."
"Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things," he said at the time. "They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that's what's going to happen here."
In the Times interview, Rumsfeld points the finger of blame for the current turmoil in the Middle East on President Barack Obama's lack of willingness to confront the Islamic State (ISIS).
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"We can't police the world, it's too big, but people want to know what to think about their futures and the risks," he tells the Times. "Leaders need to tell them what is happening and have the guts to stand up and say, 'This is what I think.'"
"If leaders aren't willing to do it, why the hell should a guy with a wife and kids in the community put himself at risk?" he added.
Rumsfeld predicts it'll take decades to defeat the jihadists — and it'll be through countering their ideology — rather than hitting them with bullets and airstrikes, RT reports.
"You begin to look at this thing not like a war but more like the Cold War ... you're not going to win this with bullets, you're in a competition of ideas," he tells the Times.
"You're going to have to squeeze down bank accounts, to find out who's teaching whom what, to find ways to promote and encourage moderates."
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