From NBC's Kelly O'Donnell
Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was at the White House today and has been participating in the President's consultations on Iraq -- making some of his comments from a December 7 interview with Cal Thomas on FOX rather notable. The official transcript was released today. For starters, Rumsfeld said he had not read the Iraq Study Group report:
Q: Yeah. The Iraq Study Group Report -- you've read it, I'm sure.
RUMSFELD: I haven't.
Q: You haven't?
Q: You've read the executive summary?
RUMSFELD: I've -- yes, I've read reports of it, and I've gone through the executive summary.
Not a "War on Terror:"
Q: You know all the stuff. What would you have done differently?
RUMSFELD: I guess I don't think I would have called it the war on terror. I don't mean to be critical of those who have or did or -- and certainly I've used the phrase frequently. Why do I say that? I say it because the word "war" conjures up World War II more than it does the Cold War, and it creates a level of expectation of victory and an ending within the 30 or 60 minutes of a soap opera. And it isn't going to happen that way.
Furthermore, it's not a war on terror. Terror is a weapon of choice for extremists who are trying to destabilize regimes and impose their -- in the hands of a small group of clerics, their dark vision on all the people that they can control.
So "war on terror" has a problem for me, and I've worked to try to reduce the extent to which that's used, and increase the extent to which we understand it more as a long war or a struggle or a conflict, not against terrorism but against a relatively small number, but terribly dangerous and lethal, violent extremists.
On Robert Gates' confirmation hearing response that the United States is not winning the war:
RUMSFELD: I see. I didn't see his testimony, and I would want to -- before -- I don't want to comment on it at all because I didn't see it in context. But if you asked me what my view would be, it would be that the military can't lose, but the military can't win alone, it simply requires political solutions. They've got to have reconciliation in their country. They simply have to take a series of steps, that they've not yet sufficiently taken.
On life after the Pentagon:
RUMSFELD: She (Mrs. Rumsfeld) goes all the time with a group of women, and I have not been in six years to the movies.