Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is back in the news over a heated exchange with a reporter from Al Jazeera. In a sit-down interview, Rumsfeld refused to answer a question over criticisms he failed to deploy sufficient troop numbers during the Iraq invasion to secure Iraq’s borders.
Reporter: “Do you think that the numbers you went into the Iraq—the numbers of U.S. troops that you went into Iraq with did absolve you from the responsibility of tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of innocent Iraqis killed by the coalition and those criminals that you talked about?”
Donald Rumsfeld: “Are you going to stop?”
Reporter: “Give me a straight answer.”
Rumsfeld: “Look, you can characterize my answers any way you want, and you do it in a pejorative way.”
Reporter: “No, I do it with respect.”
Rumsfeld: “No, you don’t at all. Obviously, you are of that nature. It’s clear that your being, that you like to do that.”
Rumsfeld has a controversial history with Al Jazeera. Under his watch, the U.S. military attacked Al Jazeera reporters and staffers at least three times, including a 2003 bombing that killed correspondent Tareq Ayoub in Baghdad, and imprisoned several of its reporters. In 2004, Rumsfeld called Al Jazeera’s coverage of the Iraq war “vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable.”