Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Congress is “failing to do its job” by allowing sequestration to threaten significant cuts to the defense budget, which would be a “monumental mistake.”
“I think it’s mindless. The idea of sequestering that amount of many hundreds of billions of dollars is fundamentally wrong, it’s poor government and if it does fall the way it looks like it could and it hits the Department of Defense, it would be a monumental mistake,” he told Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren late Thursday.
Congress began a five-week recess on Friday.
“What they did is kick the can down the road and they didn’t kick it very well or very far and haven’t performed their responsibilities in the Congress of the United States to pass responsible budgets that are thoughtful and intended,” Rumsfeld, himself a former congressman, added. “This is a stop-gap excuse for a failure to do their jobs.”
Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, also said that what worries him the most today “is the projection of America as a country that is weak and that is behaving in a way that is not going to be good for our future” – including intelligence leaks.
“If I were in the Israeli government, I don’t think I would notify the United States government of any intent to do anything about … Iran,” he said. “I think the relationship with the United States is such that it could conceivably leak out of the United States government, that he called and that he plans to do something on Iran. So my guess is that, given the pattern of leaks out of the White House, that any prime minister of Israel would not call the United States and give clear intentions as to what they plan to do.”
Asked how politics have changed since he was involved, Rumsfeld blamed money and television for keeping elected officials from getting things done.
“The pressure is to polarize things, and television has that effect, and money,” he said. “I mean if you have to raise that amount of money to stay in office, then what the people do is they devote a large amount of time to raising money and the way you raise money is to be on television and to be seen and to be noticed, and to do that generally you have to say something that’s dramatic. You know the rule: If it bleeds it leads, so you have to say something that gets, grabs attention. And so you find people behaving in a way that’s designed to grab attention so they can raise money so they can perpetuate themselves in office.”