Donald Rumsfeld, the Bush Administration defense secretary and architect of the disastrous $2 trillion Iraq War which killed almost 4,500 American soldiers and wounded about 28,000 more, lashed out at President Barack Obama’s handling of U.S. foreign policy with regard to Afghanistan in a Fox News appearance Monday, comparing Obama’s performance to that of “a trained ape.”
In fact, said Rumsfeld, “a trained ape,” could obtain a status of forces agreement with Afghan president Hamid Karzai. A status of force agreement allows U.S. troops to be stationed in a country indefinitely.
“We have status of forces agreements probably with 100, 125 countries in the world,” Rumsfeld told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren. “This administration, the White House and the State Department, have failed to get a status of forces agreement. A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement.”
Rumsfeld took exception to what he called Obama’s “unpleasant” treatment of the Afghan president, saying that Obama has been “repeatedly and publicly abusive,” to Karzai.
The former defense secretary who in 2002 predicted the eight-year U.S. involvement in Iraq would last “five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last longer,” said he was “not the least bit surprised” that Karzai chose to side with Russia in its invasion of Crimea. Rumsfeld said that Karzai “felt cornered and is feeling he has to defend himself” from Obama’s “unpleasant” treatment.
Why Donald Rumsfeld chose to compare Obama to a “trained ape” is a question, however, that let some observers wondering about his choice of words.
“What is it about Obama that bothers people like Rumsfeld?” asked New Yorker writer Amy Davidson. “He might ask himself, for a moment, why the idea of Obama—the President of the United States—speaking out of turn bothers him so much, and why the word ‘ape’ sprung to mind.”
Donald Rumsfeld also said he can “personally sympathize” with Karzai’s expression of support for the Russian annexation of Crimea, though Karzai’s choice was likely motivated as much by the newly reopened flow of cash from Russia into Afghanistan, as The Washington Post noted last week, as by Karzai’s annoyance with Obama and other Western leaders.
The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. The United States launched its own invasion in 2001.
Van Susteren asked Donald Rumsfeld if Karzai’s backing was a “poke in the eye” to American soldiers who were wounded and died fighting in Afghanistan, but Rumsfeld said it was not because Karzai also sent his “best wishes” to the American people at the same time he expressed backing for Russia.