Rumsfeld: If Gadhafi Stays, U.S. Reputation Damaged, American Enemies Emboldened

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"The coalition that is in place with respect to Libya is the smallest one in modern history," Rumsfeld said. "We had over 90 countries in the global war on terror that President Bush and Colin Powell put in place. We had dozens of countries involved in Afghanistan, dozens of countries involved in Iraq. … And still, the Democrats were alleging that it was President Bush was a unilateralist. It's nonsense," he insisted.

Libya Intervention Right Move for U.S.? Gates Mum

Tapper asked him, "are we doing the right thing in Libya?"

Rumsfeld evaded the question by stating the facts. "Well the first thing one has to say is that we have U.S. military forces involved and everyone has to be hopeful that it turns out well," he said.

"I'm wondering," Tapper asked later in the interview, "if you had been secretary of defense as Gadhafi's troops stormed into Benghazi, and Gadhafi himself threatened no mercy, and there was a very real fear of a mass slaughter, what would you have recommended to the president?" he asked.

"Well, I wasn't there, so I can't answer that question," Rumsfeld replied. "I will say that I think that President Obama and Secretary Clinton are both experiencing the differences from serving in a legislative branch and then serving in executive positions. The perspective is enormously different. And I think you can almost see them transition in their thinking and in their handling of this," he said.

Rumsfeld recently came out with a new memoir, "Known and Unknown."

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