VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, explain that to me.
RUMSFELD: Well, it's an organization that is unwilling to make a tough decision.
VAN SUSTEREN: How about -- but I mean, this one's not close, though. I mean, if someone...
RUMSFELD: Well, but I'll explain...
VAN SUSTEREN: OK.
RUMSFELD: ... what the tough decision is. The decision never was, Should Libya go on the human rights commission or should Saddam Hussein and Iraq be put on the disarmament -- U.N. disarmament commission of some kind. The real issue is, do we want to choose among our members? Who among us, the U.N. members, do we think that we have the ability to say, This person shouldn't be able to be a participant in these various activities of the U.N.?
Once you start doing that, there's a lot of countries that are unseemly. There are a lot of countries that don't abide by our values and the Western values. And therefore, they are collectively unwilling to say that certain countries may not serve on those committees.
I mean, if they get together, the thing they do very, very well is unhelpful, and that is to pass resolutions against Israel, for -- Zionism is racism, that type of thing. That they seem able to agree on. But in terms of keeping Libya, a country -- or any other U.N. nation that could be just as bad -- Saddam Hussein's regime, for example -- off of a major committee, they won't do it. It's an automatic rotation and it appears over a period of time. And they never -- they never can develop the collective will to stop it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, President Obama says that he expects we're going to be out of Libya very shortly, very -- within -- within a week. Do you see that as a possibility?
RUMSFELD: I have no idea. I've always believed that the mission determines the coalition, and the coalition ought not to determine the mission. If you go back to the Gulf war, the reason we didn't go for regime change, President George Herbert Walker Bush said after defeating the Iraqi army, was that the coalition hadn't agreed on that.
I don't know what the coalition here has agreed on. I don't think they have agreed on a mission. And the mission should have been decided before the coalition. I suspect that one of the reasons that the administration didn't go to Congress is they didn't know what to ask for. They didn't know precisely, with clarity and sufficient precision, what it is they wanted the Congress to approve. And the coalition clearly has not come to an agreement as to what their mission is.
VAN SUSTEREN: Does that mean it's doomed, in some ways? If we don't know -- if there's no clarity of mission, if we're all in it for a different reason or have a different agenda or different goal in some ways, or how far we can go or -- I mean, is it doomed when the component parts of a coalition don't have a common mission?
RUMSFELD: If I'm right that the mission ought to determine the coalition, and you have to define it first and then arrange countries around that mission, then the answer to your question is, That's correct, you are doomed. You have to know what it is you're doing. And you then have to pull together countries that agree with what it is you're doing.
People allege that the Bush administration was unilateralist. And the reality is that President Bush and Colin Powell and the administration ended up with 90 countries in the global war on terror, with you know, several dozen in the Iraq coalition, several dozen in the Afghan coalition, 98, I think, in the proliferation security initiative to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
And the way that was done was to say, Here's what we're going to do, and then attract countries that can agree with that. Not every country can agree with everything. And that's fair enough. But take what's going on in NATO now in terms of command and control. That is very dangerous. The one thing you don't want is confusion over who's got -- who's got the baton, who's in charge.
And France is not in the NATO military committee. They -- De Gaulle pulled them out of NATO. France is now arguing that if NATO does this, they have to do it in a format that they'll participate. And Italy is objecting and other countries are objecting. So you have this confusion, which is most unfortunate.
And it seems to me there are very few countries who have the ability to command an operation of this kind. And there are a number of countries, apparently, in the coalition who insist that it be NATO. And then there are countries in NATO, such as Turkey, that do not want NATO in charge.
VAN SUSTEREN: So what's going to happen, do you think?
RUMSFELD: I think that it's -- it's -- we're in -- we've wandered into an unfortunate situation. The first thing we have to say is, By golly, we've got U.S. military people at risk, and we have to hope and pray that it turns out well and that these major issues get sorted out. And...
VAN SUSTEREN: Hope is -- is -- is -- doesn't -- isn't reassuring that we're hoping.
RUMSFELD: Well, it's -- it -- we want it to work out.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, of course, we want it. But hope and want, if there's no clear plan and likelihood of success based on the plan, that's alarming.
RUMSFELD: Well, when you've got reluctant leadership, when you've got very few countries who have the ability to lead in a situation like this -- and I'm talking both political and military leadership -- and you have reluctant leadership and you have disagreements among the people required who are currently part of what is called a coalition, the formula there calls out for putting discipline and order into that -- that is to say, pausing and saying, OK, here's the coalition. Here are the countries that can agree to it. Here's the command structure that is going to operate within those instructions, within that mission. And unless that's done, you run the risk of having people put at risk unnecessarily and unfortunately.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is Qaddafi likely to go?
RUMSFELD: Oh, my goodness! He's been a survivor. He's been there 40 years. If there continues to be open questions as to whether the coalition's mission is regime change, I think that there is at least a reasonable possibility that Qaddafi can last it out. And the way he would do that would be to inject fear into anybody who decided to oppose him because the mission of the coalition was not to eliminate his regime. That would be public. That would be known. Once that's known, people would be quite reluctant to turn against what may very well end up staying in power.
It would be an enormous -- put yourself in the shoes of the rebels, who are trying to recruit people and to get people to assist. And how can they do that if the people outside, the United States and the NATO and the other countries, have not agreed that the regime should change? The rebels' circumstance is very difficult, it strikes me.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Secretary, thank you. And I read -- I'm rereading portions of "Known and Unknown." I've read it through the first time, and now I'm using it like a reference book for history. So thank you very much, sir.
RUMSFELD: Thank you so much.