Donald Rumsfeld warns of US being seen as weak by the world

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 30, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The Pakistani doctor who aided the United States in hunting down Usama bin Laden is sentence to 33 years in prison, and the Obama administration proves once again that they are incapable for standing up for allies of the United States.

Now in just a moment, I will be joined by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. But first here is the background on this developing story. Now, Dr. Shakeel Afridi is the Pakistani doctor who run a vaccination program and helped the CIA to verify that bin Laden was in fact at the compound in Pakistan. It's widely believed that he is being held because he assisted the United States.

But according to the judgment which was obtained by Fox News, Afridi is charged with providing financial and medical assistance to a militant group. But Afridi's family, they are not buying it. His brother Jamil told Fox News, quote, "The blame has been placed on my brother because of America. We should get justice and protection." And earlier today, a State Department's spokesman was asked about the brother's claims. Listen to this response.


MARK TONER, STATE DEPT. DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON: I'm actually not sure that they have actually approached us requesting assistance. I mean, you know, other than raising it very publicly as we have done via Secretary Clinton, you know, and raising it consistently in our meetings with Pakistani government officials, you know, it's unclear to me what else we could do for his case. But we certainly take it very seriously. The secretary is very clear in her remarks saying that, you know, there is not any basis for holding Dr. Afridi.


HANNITY: And not a very strong response from the Obama administration, but some politicians do think that there's more the United States can do. In fact Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is taking matters into his own hands. He said he will introduce a bill that would halt the funding to Pakistan until in fact the doctor is released.

Joining me now with reaction, the author of the New York Times number one best-seller" Known and Unknown," it is now out in paperback as of today, former Defense secretary, our friend Donald Rumsfeld. How are you, sir?


HANNITY: You are not getting in any trouble lately. You haven't been criticized. That must really bother you.


RUMSFELD: Well, it's been a good time for me.

HANNITY: You know, I asked you something earlier today. I want to get back to this story. I asked what do you fear the most when you think of all that you know, the five times you have been in and out of government, two stints as defense secretary, what do you fear the most about the future of this country?

RUMSFELD: One, the things that race through your mind, of course, are things like Iran having a nuclear weapon, North Korea's behavior, the terrorist networks that exist in the world, cyber attacks. But the thing that worries me the most is not any one of those things specifically. It is the risk, the danger that the United States will increasingly be seen as weak.

HANNITY: Did you think under this president, because of his policies, starting out with an apology tour, do you think that the rest of the world views him as weak?

RUMSFELD: I do. I think that the economic weakness of our country, the fact that we are spending trillions of dollars that we don't have --

HANNITY: Wait a minute, the president says, he's a thrifty spender. He says, you know, no one has been as thrifty as him.

RUMSFELD: If the GSA trips to Las Vegas, I guess would punctuate that.

HANNITY: Five trillion in debt.

RUMSFELD: Yes. But the reality is, we are modeling America on Europe and that's a failed model. And when the world senses that the United States of America will not be the ribcage, this nation that contributes to peace and stability in the world, then you are going to see people doing things they otherwise wouldn't think of doing. And if we go ahead and have the sequestering of the budget and end up with another 400, $500 billion of cuts in the defense budget, totaling something in the neighborhood of $1 trillion over the next decade, we will find that we will not only be seen as weak economically, we will be seen as weak militarily. And weakness is provocative.

HANNITY: All right. Weakness incurs aggression.

RUMSFELD: Exactly.

HANNITY: I agree with you. But do you think the president's world view is such that America has been an aggressive country. Like I look at America, I think of we defeated Nazism and Fascism, imperial Japan, we won the Cold War and now we are leading the way in battling terrorism. Liberals don't see it that way. They view it as well, America is an aggressive nation. Look what the president said on Memorial Day. You know, he was implying that previous wars were unnecessary.

RUMSFELD: Jeane Kirkpatrick characterized that attitude as the blame America first crowd.

HANNITY: Is Obama part of that?

RUMSFELD: Well, clearly. He doesn't seem to feel that the United States has and should continue to be playing an important role in the world in contributing to peace and stability. And you do that not by making war, you do that not by aggression, you do that by being capable and being seen as being capable, which causes other countries to avoid doing things that they would do if they saw weakness and increasingly we are demonstrating weakness.

HANNITY: All right. So, we have this situation. Why would anybody ever help us again when they see that we abandon this guy in Pakistan and the president does nothing? Why would they ever help us again?

RUMSFELD: Let me even go back a step. Why would anyone help us if somebody leaks the name and the fact that somebody might have helped us. Why would anybody in our government leak information that suggests that a foreign national is giving us assistance? It is putting them and their families in jeopardy. It is outrageous, it is inexcusable for us to be mismanaging information in that way.

HANNITY: What should the president do to protect this guy, putting aside that it was leaked, what should he do now?

RUMSFELD: I have trouble putting aside that it was leaked. I just think it is so terrible that people who step up and give us a hand, then are put in jeopardy because it will keep people from doing that. What should you do now? We should recognize that Pakistan is not going to agree with us on every issue. I'm not sure if this was a religious court or a Pakistani court that issued the judgment. But we ought to do everything possible to assist the individual and their family and protect them from harm and be a responsible partner.

HANNITY: The president should lead the way. I agree with you. You know, look, every time I say what I'm about to say to you, liberals go nuts. Like Alka-Seltzer and water, they bubble and fizz and scream and give off energy, which by the way, I kind of take great pleasure in. And maybe it's the dark side of Sean Hannity. But I'm glad the president got bin Laden, made the decision to get bin Laden.

RUMSFELD: Absolutely.

HANNITY: But I contend, as do many former CIA officials and secretaries of state -- I'm sorry, secretaries of Defense, that without rendition, black sites, without Gitmo, without enhanced interrogation, we had Jose Rodriguez on this very program, he was leading the interrogation efforts against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others. We wouldn't have gotten bin Laden, we wouldn't have had the opportunity. We wouldn't have had the intelligence. So, in other words, if Obama had his way, he would never have been able to make that decision which he's now out on the campaign trail bragging about. True or false?

RUMSFELD: Nor would they have had the capabilities that had been left to them by the Bush administration. The investment in special operations capabilities, the investment in the intelligence capabilities. Every president has available to them the capabilities left by their predecessors.

HANNITY: Then what do you think of the president politicizing the death of bin Laden when the very policies he supported would have never given us the intelligence? What does that say to you?

RUMSFELD: I was not in the Pentagon when that happened, but I imagine that almost anyone in the CIA or the Pentagon had to been grinding their teeth when all of this information flooded out of the White House about what was done, how it was done, putting at risk, in my view, our military forces and our intelligence assets because of too much loose talk.

HANNITY: Do you think America, what is your fear if Obama got four more years?

RUMSFELD: Eight years gives any administration an opportunity to sprinkle through the executive branch of the government a great many people who believe what they believe. And to the extent we have people in government today who have decided that they are willing to incur the kinds of trillions of dollars in debt and put that crushing burden on future generations, I think we just get more of the same.

HANNITY: By the way, your number one best-seller now out in paperwork back. You are giving all the money to military causes.

RUMSFELD: I am. Military charities. Every cent we've gotten from the book.

HANNITY: Almost a million dollars.

RUMSFELD: Yes, it is.

HANNITY: Well, Secretary, good to see you.

RUMSFELD: Thank you so much. Good being with you, Sean.

HANNITY: And the media misses you. I think they miss your press conferences.

RUMSFELD: I enjoyed them.

HANNITY: I think they did, too, but not for the same reason. They loved fighting with you.

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