Donald Rumsfeld is out pushing his new memoir Known and Unknown and he stopped by Charlie Rose for a chat last night. Rose asked the two-time former Secretary of Defense for his opinion on the President’s decision to send special forces into Pakistan to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.
Remember, former Defense Secretary Bob Gates called the decision to send troops, and not just bomb the compound, a “gutsy decision.” Rose asked Rumsfeld for his thoughts.
Rose: Do you think it was a gutsy call by the president?
Rumsfeld: I don’t
According to Rumsfeld, the possible intelligence cache and the fact that there was a “40%-80%” possibility that Bin Laden was in the compound made the call a no-brainer. The president took a whole night to sleep on the decision. Rumsfeld agrees with the president’s call, but he says it would have taken him fifteen minutes.
Rumsfeld: “It seems to me that it is a fifteen minute decision and the first fourteen are for coffee”
Nothing like a little arm-chair quarterbacking from the guy responsible for the just-ended war in Iraq and the ongoing war on Afghanistan. (See the video starting at around 21:45) Remember, Rumsfeld had his own opportunity to take out bin Laden in the mountains of Tora Bora, but was either unable or unwilling to pull the trigger (as 60 minutes documented a few years ago)
Delta developed an audacious plan to come at bin Laden from the one direction he would never expect.“We want to come in on the back door,” Fury explains. “The original plan that we sent up through our higher headquarters, Delta Force wants to come in over the mountain with oxygen, coming from the Pakistan side, over the mountains and come in and get a drop on bin Laden from behind.” But they didn’t take that route, because Fury says they didn’t get approval from a higher level. “Whether that was Central Command all the way up to the president of the United States, I’m not sure,” he says.The next option that Delta wanted to employ was to drop hundreds of landmines in the mountain passes that led to Pakistan, which was bin Laden’s escape route.“First guy blows his leg off, everybody else stops. That allows aircraft overhead to find them. They see all these heat sources out there. Okay, there a big large group of Al Qaeda moving south. They can engage that,” Fury explains.But they didn’t do that either, because Fury says that plan was also disapproved. He says he has “no idea” why. “How often does Delta come up with a tactical plan that’s disapproved by higher headquarters?” Pelley asks.”In my experience, in my five years at Delta, never before,” Fury says.