Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld criticized President Barack Obama's foreign policy in an interview with Newsmax this week, accusing his administration of naively drawing down certain engagements in the war on terror.
Asked if he believed recent closures of U.S. embassies over a supposed terror threat proved that Obama had overstated its success in dismantling al Qaeda, Rumsfeld launched into a broader critique of the president's approach to combatting terrorism.
"The administration has been uniformly desirous of de-emphasizing the threat from Islamists and suggesting that it is something that they can prevail over with bullets and drone strikes, which is not the case," Rumsfeld said, arguing that the administration needed to do more than just "kill people." He went on to suggest that national security would be better served by capturing terrorists and "finding out what they know."
"This is much more like the Cold War," he told Newsmax. "It's going to last decades, not years, and it's going to take perseverance and persistence on the part of the United States, and we have to be realistic. And the administration is not realistic about it. They're unwilling to even identify what the enemy is. They won't even use the word Islamist."
Obama has already brought a formal end to the war in Iraq, and while troops are expected to be largely out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, a recent poll showed that most Americans have already decided that the military operation wasn't worth the cost.
During an interview with ABC News last month, Rumsfeld gave some insight into his thoughts about the "war on terror" as a more abstract and expansive engagement.
"I was uncomfortable with the word 'war', because it suggested that it was going to be one with bullets," Rumsfeld said, describing deliberations by former President George W. Bush's administration about what to call the operation mounted in response to 9/11.
"The enemy is not terror, the enemy is radicals," Rumsfeld added.