NEW YORK – In an interview billed as his first since leaving the top Pentagon post, Donald Rumsfeld calls Afghanistan “a big success,” but says U.S. efforts in Iraq are hampered by the failure of Iraq’s government to establish a foundation for democracy.
“In Afghanistan, 28 million people are free. They have their own president, they have their own parliament. Improved a lot on the streets,” Rumsfeld says in the October issue of GQ magazine.
While “that’s been a big success,” he said, the Baghdad regime “has not been able to … create an environment hospitable to whatever one wants to call their evolving way of life, a democracy or a representative system, or a freer system. And it’s going to take some time and some effort.”
Rumsfeld stepped down as Secretary of Defense in November, a day after congressional elections that cost Republicans control of Congress.
Dissatisfaction with his handling of the Iraq war was cited by many as a major element of voter dissatisfaction.
Rumsfeld also said he believes Bush “is a lot more intelligent and curious than people give him credit for.”
Rumsfeld said he couldn’t recall the last time he and the president spoke.
Do you miss him? “Um, no,” Rumsfeld said.