This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, March 19, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
Watch On the Record every weeknight at 10 p.m. ET!
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Good evening. It was one year ago at about this time on March 19 that American planes started bombing Iraq and Saddam Hussein's brutal regime began to fall. Brave soldiers of the American and coalition forces deserve our praise and our thanks for their efforts.
The war was planned and executed under the leadership of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Fox's national security correspondent Bret Baier had rare and exclusive access to the secretary for this special ON THE RECORD edition, Rumsfeld at war" -- Bret.
BRET BAIER, FOX CORRESPONDENT: Greta, we begin tonight by looking at how the war began one year ago.
GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm seeing again flashes of antiaircraft fire in the sky.
BUSH: On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war.
BAIER (voice-over): A decapitation strike to take out Saddam Hussein started Operation Iraqi Freedom. F-117 stealth fighters dropped the first bombs, followed by a barrage of Tomahawk Cruise missiles from U.S. destroyers, cruisers and attack subs.
DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Coalition forces hit a senior Iraqi leadership compound last evening.
BAIER: Saddam Hussein escaped the first attack.
RUMSFELD: That was the first. It will likely not be the last. The days of the Saddam Hussein regime are numbered.
BAIER: At the same time, thousands of U.S. soldiers started rolling into Iraq from Kuwait, a day later, "shock and awe" from the sky. Thousands of guided bombs crippled the Iraqi regime. U.S. troops moved closer to the capital. From the start, special operations moved at will, destroying Iraqi resistance. Just 21 days after the start of the war, Saddam Hussein's regime crumbled as the world watched. The next day, President Bush delivered this message to the Iraqi people.
BUSH: The nightmare that Saddam Hussein has brought to your nation will soon be over.
RUMSFELD: I get up about 5:00 in the morning, and by the time I get here at 6:30 or 6:40, I've been into my day and thinking about things, what I have to do and what's important to get done.
Good morning. How are you?
BAIER: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, full steam into his day. Fox News is invited along for an unprecedented look behind the scenes into his office to see the unique way Rumsfeld works.
(on camera): The entire day you're standing?
RUMSFELD: Yes. I work the phones here standing and work off this surface and meet with people there, frequently with stand-up meetings, like we're doing now.
I've been doing it since 1969, and I must be a kind of a person that just likes to be on my feet. I feel much better standing than sitting. If I sit, I get -- lookit, I mean, you get logey and -- you know.
BAIER: What's today's agenda?
RUMSFELD: Well, let's see.
LAWRENCE DIRITA, ASST. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: He'll come in and kind of quickly review the newspapers and whatever issues maybe have collected for him over the night, notifications from (UNINTELLIGIBLE) overseas, that sort of activity. He has usually an early morning call with Condi Rice and the secretary of state.
Colin and Condi and I can clean up pieces of business that you could say frequently save a lot of time, get people working on things prior to a meeting that's coming later in the day.
This is going to be a classified call, so I don't know what else I can do.
LT. GEN. JOHN CRADDOCK, SENIOR MILITARY ADVISER: The secretary's mode is you can get a lot of stuff done in a short period of time, so he's rapid-fire.
GEN. RICHARD MYERS, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Well, every morning, virtually every morning, when we're all in town or when the secretary is in town, we have what we called a roundtable, where you have some of the senior staff around and -- this can be everything from current operations in Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq. It can be on transformation. It can be on personnel issues. They run the gamut -- pay and benefits, just anything that we're trying to work here.
RUMSFELD: Who do I say it's over? It's over.
BAIER (voice-over): Out of almost every meeting come memos from Rumsfeld that his staff call "snowflakes."
DIRITA: A snowflake? No two are alike. A lot of his snowflakes are, I heard this from somebody, what do you think about it? So it's how he gets people thinking about issues.
MYERS: I think the one thing about his style I like is that he pushes, but he pushes for the same sorts of things that I want to push for, and that is, trying to create a 21st century armed forces that can address this 21st century threat. And he's relentless in his pressure to make that happen.
BAIER: It's barely 8:30 in the morning, and Rumsfeld is on the move again. He and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz are heading to the White House for a meeting with President Bush.
PAUL WOLFOWITZ, DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY: We do a lot of big things together and kind of split in complementary ways. There's a lot of just sort of slugging it out managing that -- he'll tell me there's an issue we need to work on, like how to fund Iraqi security forces, and then somebody's got to get down in the mud and wrestle the bureaucracy.
BAIER: Moving quickly, the two men run into a former colleague, retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Hugh Shelton.
RUMSFELD: Didn't you use to be Hugh Shelton?
GEN. HUGH SHELTON, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I used to be. Yes, sir, I did. How are you, sir?
SHELTON: Hey, sir! How are you? Good to see you as well.
DIRITA: The schedule is very tight. There's never enough time in the day, and he frequently reminds me of that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an easy day. This is -- on a relative scale of 1 to 10, with easy being one, this is a 2 compared to what's normal. I'll just tell you, it's an easy day.
BAIER: When we come back, we'll ride with the secretary to the White House and take an inside look at Rumsfeld's relationship with the commander-in-chief.
BAIER (on camera): So when you're driving, do you get a lot of reading done? What happens on these rides?
RUMSFELD: I read all the time.
RUMSFELD: I read all the time. I never drive anymore. Joyce drives when we're together, and I read while she drives. She likes to drive and she doesn't like to read in the car. Saves me a lot of time, work, so I can get a lot done.
BAIER: We were talking with General Craddock about your schedule. It's pretty intense.
RUMSFELD: It is. It is. I -- on the other hand, I'm used to it. I've been doing it most of my life, and I don't feel put upon. I enjoy it. I like to work, and the work is fascinating, so -- the people are interesting. No, I have no complaints. It's -- there are long days, and you wish you could spend more time on things, some things that merit more time, but...
BAIER: You ever get burned out?
RUMSFELD: Oh, the only time I really ever feel it is if I don't -- if I go a long period without exercise, like on most trips. I don't get a chance to play squash or anything. And the other risk factor for me is relaxing. Once you relax, you wind down, and then it's hard to get cranked back up again.
BAIER: You turned, what, 70-what?
RUMSFELD: I'm 72 in July, a couple months. Yes, we've got our 50th wedding anniversary this year and our 50th college graduations. It's a good chunk of years.
BAIER: Is this the toughest job, this job right now?
RUMSFELD: It's a tough job. I suppose the toughest job was the first executive responsibility I had as a young fellow and...
BAIER: Chief of staff for President Ford.
RUMSFELD: No, it was before that. It was running the Office of Economic Opportunity. It was the first time -- it was a complicated organization that was in difficulty, and I was asked to try to fix it and...
BAIER: For President Nixon.
RUMSFELD: Yes. It was a hard job. And then the second most difficult job, clearly, was chief of staff of the White House with a president who hadn't been elected, the only time that's ever happened in our history, and a wonderful person, but he'd been a legislator and not an executive. This time around is difficult, but in a different way. The times are challenging for our country, but working with this president, who is an executive, been a governor and is -- every -- every -- he came in at the place where some presidents arrive after they've been in office a few years.
MYERS: He usually has a meeting about once a week with the president to cover Department of Defense-specific issues. And generally, he takes either Pete Pace or myself.
JIM WILKINSON, DEP. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Having Secretary Rumsfeld -- his experience, having done this job before, he brings years of experience and seasoned leadership to the table. That's critical to the president's ability to make decisions.
RUMSFELD: Fine man we got here. Do you know Bret Baier there?
BUSH: What kind of guy (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
RUMSFELD: He's (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
BAIER: How are you, sir?
BUSH: He looks like he should be in radio.
BAIER: Thank you, Mr. President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a cheap shot.
WILKINSON: I don't talk about anything that goes on in these meetings. What I'll say is that there's a lot of opinions, and that's a good thing. You wouldn't want everyone to have the same opinions. People bring different opinions to the table, and it's important that those views be aired. That's the great part of democracy is everyone has the right to be heard.
BAIER: All these stories about a battle between the secretary of state and the secretary of defense...
WILKINSON: Any stories about any sort of disagreements between principals that happen in this room are from sort of level-four and level- five people who've never been in this room, who make their stock and trade of the rumors, so it's just silliness.
BAIER: That was a principals meeting or was that all of them?
RUMSFELD: No, just -- it was Condi and me and the president, and then I brought Paul and General Myers in for a portion.
BAIER: And I saw Andrew Card bouncing in and out.
RUMSFELD: Yes. He was doing his job as chief of staff. It's a tough job, being chief of staff.
BAIER: Is it?
RUMSFELD: Very. He does an excellent job, in my view. It's a very tough job. All of the things that end up in the president's office tend to be things that if they're easy, would have been dealt with and solved down below.
BAIER: How do you decide what gets up to the Oval Office meeting?
RUMSFELD: I try to put myself -- as I do in many instances, I try to put myself in other people's shoes. So if I'm working on a war plan, I try to put myself in someone else's shoes. If I'm working on transformation of the department, I try to put myself in the shoes of the people who have the levers of power. And in the case of dealing with the president, I try to put myself in his shoes and ask myself the question, were I sitting in his chair, what is it that I would need from a secretary of defense to know. And I want it to be presented to a person who's simultaneously dealing with agriculture and health and human services, education, and international relations. And how does it feed into that context for him?
BAIER: How do you characterize the president's interaction with you and the other members of the NCS?
RUMSFELD: Well, first of all, he's -- he's very much engaged. He is available to talk about things that are important. He is interested in them. He -- I was in a meeting with him the other day this week, on the national security issue, and he -- I'm going to guess he in 45 minutes asked 40 questions.
BAIER: So 45 minutes, 40 questions?
RUMSFELD: I think so. He just -- bang, bang, bang. He was totally engaged in it, and he wanted to know -- he wanted to peel the onion. He wanted to get down several layers in the thing and pieces of it. And it forced the discussion and the consideration, and it elevated a whole host of things that he obviously believed he needed to know and wanted to reflect on and consider. Of course, a person in his position may be doing it for that reason, he may also be doing it to test people.
BAIER: So it's not micro-managing, it's just...
RUMSFELD: No, no. Quite the contrary. It's -- it's -- it's developing sufficient knowledge of something so that -- so that you can provide policy guidance and direction, and you know exactly how long the string ought to be on the key people who are managing that piece of it for him, and then stepping out and letting them do it.
BAIER: Is that what, I mean, this whole thing is, it's like running a company?
RUMSFELD: No, it's not a company. It's a lot more difficult. A company, you can make -- study something, you can make a decision, put it in place, leave it there for three months or three years or thirty years and calibrate it, and if it doesn't work, stop it and start something else. Here, the minute you start thinking about doing something, it's in the press. It's all being analyzed before you've ever even have tried it, and it's already been dissected and turned a quagmire before it happens.
BAIER (voice-over): Up next: Back at the Pentagon, we'll show you how Secretary Rumsfeld came to be one of the most powerful men in the world.
RUMSFELD: You see these -- these glass things?
BAIER: Yes. The last one?
RUMSFELD: The last one.
BAIER: Is you and Eisenhower?
RUMSFELD: It's just good humor. Yes. And it's several other people, too, like all of these have (UNINTELLIGIBLE) But we stuck that picture of Eisenhower with me.
BAIER (voice-over): In 1962, President Eisenhower campaigned for a 30-year-old Don Rumsfeld running for Congress in Illinois. Rumsfeld won and served four terms in Congress before taking over as director of the Office of Economic Opportunity for President Nixon. Rumsfeld then became a counselor to the president, and in 1973 was named U.S. ambassador to NATO. His next stop, the White House to serve as President Ford's chief of staff. His deputy then, Dick Cheney.
At 43 years old, Rumsfeld became the youngest defense secretary in 1975. After a two-year stint at the Pentagon, he left government to serve as CEO of two Fortune 500 companies over the next 16 years, all while serving on a host of government commissions and committees and keeping close ties to his former protege, Dick Cheney, who later became defense secretary under the first President Bush, and of course, vice president under the second.
RUMSFELD: Charlie, did we tape the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) appearance?
BAIER: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz has served under both men.
(on camera): I saw a great picture in your hallway that had -- it was from the vice president, and it said, Which defense secretary is better to work for?
WOLFOWITZ: Who's the best...
BAIER: The vice president -- who's the best...
WOLFOWITZ: Right. And I guess I spend enough time in the State Department not to answer that question.
WOLFOWITZ: But they're both terrific. And I mean, something that I'm not sure people are sufficiently impressed by I'm terrifically impressed by is they both have really powerful minds, which is to say very enormous intelligence.
DIRITA: The secretary will be taping a short introduction to an annual ethics refresher training that the Standards of Conduct officer in the department is pulling together.
RUMSFELD: Look at the crowd in here. Goodness gracious! Who's controlling the speed?
BAIER (voice-over): He wants the teleprompter to be just right.
RUMSFELD: Who is it? All right. I like to connect a face with a finger and a speed here. Don't mess it up!
DIRITA: So he'll be just taping a -- sort of reminding people why he considers this important.
RUMSFELD: Because the stakes are so high, our standards must be even higher, avoiding even the appearance of anything less than complete integrity...
BAIER: Rumsfeld often tapes messages sent out across the military.
RUMSFELD: A little jerky! Just a little jerky!
BAIER (on camera): Then he's got the honor cordon today?
DIRITA: He will meet with the minister of defense from the Netherlands, who's here. So there'll be an honor cordon at the entrance to the building.
BAIER (voice-over): From the river entrance to a conference room, with a lot of pleasantries along the way.
RUMSFELD: Well, welcome. Your first trip to the Pentagon!
HANK KEMP, NETHERLANDS DEFENSE MINISTER: Yes. First time.
RUMSFELD: I had a good discussion on Iraq and on Afghanistan and the role they're playing in both countries, talked a bit about their upcoming chairmanship of the EU and some of the priorities he has and how they interact with NATO. He's got a lot of energy.
BAIER: And is it true that Secretary Rumsfeld is the toughest defense leader worldwide?
KEMP: No. Donald Rumsfeld is a unique man.
BAIER: Pretty diplomatic. How about is Rumsfeld a tough negotiator?
RUMSFELD: Sweet and lovable!
KEMP: If you have a good relation with him, it's fairly easy to have -- to have negotiations with him. And if you have a bad relation with him, I don't know 6how it is then. I don't have a bad relation with him. Ask others.
BAIER (on camera): How would you describe working with secretary Rumsfeld?
CRADDOCK: Extremely demanding, an incredible grasp of issues and uncanny instinct. He's always on top of his game. He's always thinking through issues. He's always a step ahead of where you think he is. So I mean, it's very difficult. Hardest guy I ever worked for. Hardest job I've ever had.
BAIER: Is that right?
CRADDOCK: Oh, no question.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thanks, Bret. And up next, more of our special edition of ON THE RECORD, "Rumsfeld at War." When we come back, Secretary Rumsfeld takes us behind the closed doors of his Pentagon office.
VAN SUSTEREN: Welcome back to our special edition of ON THE RECORD, RUMSFELD AT WAR.
One year ago, the world watched bombs drop over Iraq as our brave soldiers began their dangerous trek into Baghdad. The coalition forces' risky mission was led by Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld.
Our own Bret Baier had exclusive access to the secretary at the Pentagon -- Bret.
BRET BAIER: Greta, Secretary Rumsfeld is always on the move. He doesn't sit behind his desk. He stands. It's extremely rare to get the secretary to stop working, but he took time to show us his one- of-a-kind office.
DONALD RUMSFELD: All right. We'll start over here.
That portrait of Dwight Eisenhower is, I think, interesting because it's one of the few where you see him where he's not smiling, and he looks exactly like a general who has a lot of weight on his shoulders.
This I found in a flea market in Michigan years ago, and it says, "Teddy Roosevelt, Aggressive Fighting for the Right of the Noblest Sport the World Affords," and I even -- it's a bronze, and, in the Roosevelt Room in the White House, there's one of these -- or was. I haven't looked lately, but they have one of Franklin and one of Theodore Roosevelt.
That Admiral Rickover gave me a long time ago, when I was here the last time.
BAIER: "O, God, thy sea is so great, my boat is so small."
RUMSFELD: The paintings -- they were borrowed from one of the great art institutions here in town, and they remind me that Joyce said that this -- in 2000, she bought a couple of horses that are smooth rides, Tennessee Walkers, and said this is our rural period. But it reminds me of New Mexico.
That is a piece of the airplane...
RUMSFELD: ... that crashed into this building, and...
BAIER: Now there's some controversy about this piece.
RUMSFELD: Well, not really. This is -- we -- when we brought it in, we had it mounted. It belongs to the Pentagon, not to me, and it's -- we reported it to the authorities so they were aware it was here, and there's only controversy in a few of your colleagues in the press.
But it's a wonderful reminder to people who come in here of what happened and what it is we're about.
BAIER: I mean was this retrieved by you out there?
RUMSFELD: It was. That day. Indeed.
This, I think, is particularly interesting. This is the Korean Peninsula. There is the demilitarized zone. This is South Korea, and there's North Korea. At night from the satellite, the only light in the whole country is in Pyongyang. That's the capital.
BAIER: And you decided to put this onto the table why?
RUMSFELD: Well, it tells you that these are the same people that are there, and the only difference is one's a vicious dictatorship with concentration camps and starvation and selling ballistic missile technologies around the world and developing nuclear weapons and selling illicit drugs, counterfeiting money, and causing harm in the world, and this is a robust democracy with an economic economy that's dynamic, and they're contributing all across the world, and it just shows you the difference.
It also -- we -- I don't know what the number was, but I'm going to guess 30,000, 40,000 Americans were killed here, and so, if you think of the contribution those people made in that war and the result of it for these millions of people compared to the lives of those people, it's a big difference. So I keep it there.
That's, I'm told General Blackjack Pershing's desk.
BAIER: The biggest desk in D.C., I'm told.
RUMSFELD: Is that right?
BAIER: That's what I'm told.
RUMSFELD: Well, that's fortunate because the vice president thinks it belongs in his office, and, when I leave town, I make sure it's not movable. We bolt it to the floor.
BAIER: Last time I was in here, there was not a computer.
RUMSFELD: Is that right? I -- when I came they had yellow all over the windows to prevent people from eavesdropping in the office, and it's possible to pick up computer information, and so I took off the yellow because I didn't like it and -- off the windows, and I -- therefore, I did not have a computer for a period. I'm told this is fine to do this, so there it is.
Here's an old Cabinet chair from the Nixon Cabinet. And there's one from the Ford Cabinet.
It's a New Mexican pot, and...
BAIER: You have a place in New Mexico.
RUMSFELD: ... so that kind of makes me feel like home.
The figures over here are three of the five figures that are in the atrium of the Naval Aviation Museum. They have one for World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and post-Vietnam. I've always been involved with the naval aviation since I was a wee one because of my father. He was in, I think, in 1942 to 1945 on a carrier in the Pacific.
BAIER: Teddy Roosevelt again.
RUMSFELD: Yes, indeed.
BAIER: Why Theodore Roosevelt?
RUMSFELD: Well, he was quite a person. He was a -- he was a gifted person. He had enormous energy. He loved athletics. He loved history. He wrote. He served in public life. He was a person who believed in living life to the fullest.
Those are, I suppose, the only two certificates for a secretary of defense for one person, and one was during the Ford administration and then one during the administration of George W. Bush.
BAIER: All right. Thanks.
RUMSFELD: And that's just a private room in there with pictures of my grandchildren and things like that.
BAIER: How many?
RUMSFELD: Six and one coming.
BAIER (voice-over): Up next, Secretary Rumsfeld's reflections about the Iraq war one year later and some surprising admissions about the suspected weapons of mass destruction.
RUMSFELD: Everyone believed the intelligence.
BAIER: Let's talk Iraq. One year ago, the president ordered the military action to start in Iraq. Since then, we've lost more than 560 soldiers in that operation.
RUMSFELD: About 379 killed in action and a number of accidents that took place just as they do in peacetime.
BAIER: Total killed 560. Some people say was that worth that.
RUMSFELD: Oh, my goodness, yes. Of course, every single death or injury is something that one is -- just takes so personally because it is a heartbreaking thing to lose a young life and a brave life, and your feelings go for those families and the loved ones and the life that won't be lived. You have to stop and recognize that.
The accomplishment, however, of 25 million people being liberated is gigantic. The fact that the people of that country -- women are going to have the same rights as men, that the minorities are going to be protected by a piece of paper and not be -- repressed by a vicious regime.
BAIER: So, when you hear people say we won the war but we lost the peace...
RUMSFELD: Oh, that's nonsense that we lost the peace. There were people saying we lost the war after we were in it for three days. We were in a quagmire. It was all terrible. Henny penny, the sky is falling. Well, it hasn't fallen.
A year later, they've got an interim constitution, the schools are open, the hospitals are open, the clinics are open. They have a new currency, they have a central bank, they've got a governing council. They're in the process of assuming responsibility for their own country's security with 200,000 security forces.
Is it a dangerous place? Yes, sure it is. It is today. Indeed, there's hardly a week that goes by where there isn't an improvised explosive device that doesn't go off and kill some people.
So it's not a perfect picture, but it is a good picture in terms of all of the things that have been accomplished in 12 months.
BAIER: I heard you talking a number of times about lessons learned and how important they are, and, obviously, you have a lot of data about the strategic, the tactical, the operational lessons learned. But what are your personal lessons learned looking back one year later?
RUMSFELD: Oh, I'm sure -- you know, if anyone goes through life not learning and not trying to did things better the second time and not trying to -- trying to avoid stepping into a pothole you hit yesterday -- anyone who doesn't do that is making a big mistake. But we've looked at lessons learned from our perspective on what took place in Afghanistan and in Iraq. We've done one other thing that is interesting.
Our joint forces command has gone in and interrogated a large number of the Iraqi detainees, as senior military people, and determined what they were thinking and what they were doing and how it compared with what we thought they were going to do, and we now have a lessons learned not only from our perspective, but we have a lessons learned having looked at it from an Iraqi viewpoint.
BAIER: Weapons of mass destruction. Haven't found any, as far as I know, as of today.
BAIER: Does that hurt U.S. credibility throughout the world?
RUMSFELD: Oh, it sure doesn't help, but it isn't over. Who knows? We may find them. We...
BAIER: Do you think they will?
RUMSFELD: I don't know. I -- we certainly -- everyone believed the intelligence in our country, in neighbor -- friendly foreign countries at the U.N. Everyone was convinced that the declaration was fraudulent. I mean there wasn't any debate about that.
The only debate was how many more resolutions should there be and how many more months should go by before someone did something.
BAIER: But you were surprised.
RUMSFELD: We've got millions of documents that still have to be reviewed. There are still lots of detainees and senior former regime leaders who need to be interrogated, and we've not found what we expected.
On the other hand, I can think back how many times the president said to General Franks and me, when they use chemical weapons, what -- exactly what will our troops do, how will they be protected. And our troops put on chemical protective gear all the way from Kuwait up expecting chemical weapons to be used against them.
We found 3,000 chemical weapons suits in southern Iraq ready to be used by the Iraqis. So there was absolute conviction that that was a problem, and we were prepared for it.
Now if you think back to that spider hole that Saddam Hussein was found in, you could put in that hole enough biological weapons or chemical weapons to kill thousands of people. That's how small it is. That's how small a space you need.
And the question is, if he didn't have chemical stockpiles, as clearly the intelligence suggested he did, did he have precursors that could be readily put together and deployed. And we're going to find out. We'll know more at some point. And I'm patient.
BAIER (voice-over): Up next, Secretary Rumsfeld's view about the recent attacks in Spain and what they mean for the war on terror.
RUMSFELD: Weakness is provocative.
BAIER: We've talked about your management style through the day. One of the things is the ceremonial things that you have to do, the honor court and meeting with defense ministers.
RUMSFELD: I just met with the Netherlands' foreign minister. I must say I was very pleased and impressed with the Netherlands' reaction to the terrorist attack in Spain, and it was not that, therefore, something must change, but, rather, that the terrorists ought not to be allowed to prevail, ought not to win, they ought not to have victories and countries.
I think it's important that European countries feel that way and say that, and I was so pleased that he did.
BAIER: Since you bring up Spain, what is your reaction to that? A lot of people are saying that al Qaeda won with that bombing, they essentially changed a government, and that's scary to a lot of people.
RUMSFELD: That's clearly an impression that is afield. Whether it's true or not, I don't know.
My impression was that the race was closing in the final week, and I don't know how it would have come out absent that. The position that was articulated by the new leader was what he had indicated during the campaign, so it came as no surprise.
I think that all I would say is that if one goes back in history and thinks about all of the times when nations or people have tried to believe they could improve their circumstance by acquiescing, by accommodating a bully or a terrorist, history suggests that that is a -- not a course that works. It simply doesn't work.
Weakness is provocative, weakness entices others into action that they might otherwise avoid, and to the extent the impression is out that it works, that terrorism works, that, in fact, it is possible to terrify and, to the extent it's successful, it will not diminish, it will increase.
BAIER: So that wasn't a victory for al Qaeda?
RUMSFELD: I don't think it will prove to be a victory.
BAIER: You were 13th secretary of defense. Were you in this office?
RUMSFELD: Yes. I was a kid.
BAIER: What's different about that job and this job?
RUMSFELD: Well, it was a simpler world. We had one major problem, the Soviet Union was expanding, and it was active in the -- this hemisphere, in Latin America, it was active in Africa, it was well armed and a superpower from a military standpoint, but we had the advantage that we could look at it month after month, year after year, get good at understanding it, and keep an eye on it.
And it was hard to maintain an alliance during the Cold War, and yet through successive administrations of both political parties, multiple nations in Western Europe and North America were steadfast, and they prevailed, and that's an important lesson for us. It takes time. These things aren't fast.
But that was a simpler world. There wasn't 24-hour, seven-day news. And, today, the appetite for information and the fact that it flows around the world near instantaneously...
BAIER: So has it changed your management style?
RUMSFELD: Oh, my goodness, it changes so much. Today, you can look almost anywhere in the world, and there's a problem potentially. It may be an ungoverned area that is occupied by terrorists. It may be a terrorist state that's harboring terrorists. It may be a terrorist network that has a whole series of loose affiliates.
But we can know that they can attack at any time using any technique, and it's not possible to defend everywhere at every moment of the day or night against every conceivable technique. So the only way we can do this is to have a broad coalition of countries, as we do, 90 countries, maybe the biggest coalition in history, and to put pressure on those folks and keep pressure on them.
BAIER: Larry DiRita says that you are a mean squash player.
RUMSFELD: Mean being mean or mean being skillful...
BAIER: I'm not sure.
RUMSFELD: ... or deft or successful?
BAIER: Those were his words. I report, you decide. He said mean.
RUMSFELD: This 46-year-old played on the Naval Academy squash team.
And how's your game?
RUMSFELD: The truth is my game is hardball and his game is softball.
BAIER: All right.
(voice-over): Coming up, we'll close out the day with Secretary Rumsfeld. And wait until you hear where he goes after a busy day at the Pentagon.
RUMSFELD: I'm out of here.
BAIER (voice-over): This night is an early night for the defense secretary. He's racing for an evening game of squash at the Pentagon Athletic Facility with his assistant Larry DiRita.
LARRY DIRITA, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We try and play three or four times a week. We rarely meet that standard. He plays hard, and squash is, as much as anything, a head game, and he's got a good head game.
BAIER: Squash a few times a week, the game of politics in Washington every day, and Rumsfeld's been playing that game for more than four decades.
VAN SUSTEREN: Bret, before we go, you go over there every single day and see the secretary, but this is an inside look, I mean rare access. Was there anything that surprised you?
BAIER: There was a couple of things.
One was how busy his day is, how much he squeezes in his schedule. It's unbelievable. We were bouncing in and out of meetings. Our crews were pretty tired following him around, and this on a busy day scale was a 2 out of a 10, we're told. So a lot is in that schedule.
Second, the snowflakes, the memos that we talked about earlier that Rumsfeld dictates or writes down and gives to his secretaries to type up, they come flying out of that office. This day, he had 40 snowflakes come out. Two days prior, he had 108. So there's a lot of snowflakes falling at the Pentagon.
VAN SUSTEREN: And the score on the squash?
BAIER: The squash? He won two, lost one, and tied one.
VAN SUSTEREN: Not bad.
Bret, thank you.
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