WASHINGTON – One day after President Barack Obama said he preferred interrogating terror suspects to killing them with drone strikes, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the president’s words “simply don’t compute.”
“My impression is that they haven’t been doing much interrogating,” Rumsfeld said in an interview with WTOP. “They’ve mostly been killing people with drones.”
Obama laid out his counterterrorism policies in a speech on Thursday at the National Defense University. He said the administration prefers to use drones less and focus more on detaining, interrogating and prosecuting terror suspects.
Rumsfeld, however, says Obama’s words run counter to his actions.
“The suggestion that the war on terror is in a new phase and that al-Qaida is weak and on the run — he must not understand that you can kill and capture an al-Qaida leader in the area, but he’ll be replaced right away,” Rumsfeld said.
“This is a serious problem. And if you’re not willing to identify who the enemy is, namely radical Islamists, people that are being trained to kill innocent men, women and children, I can’t imagine how you expect to prevail over time.”
Closing Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, an act Obama has said he plans to do, runs counter to Obama’s Thursday decree, Rumsfeld suggested.
“No one wants to be a jailer,” he said. “But there are people who need to be taken off the battlefield and interrogated.”
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