We have a special edition of GPS this week, "9/11 and the World.” I sit down with the man who ran the Pentagon when it was attacked and who ran the military response that followed: Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld tells us what he remembers of that day, ten years ago; whether Washington was right to go to war in Iraq; and why he thinks Congress is making a big mistake in considering slashing our defense budget.
Also on the show, my personal reflections ten years after 9/11 and a smart discussion with Francis Fukuyama, Rory Stewart, and Irshad Manji.
Check out the clips from my interview with Donald Rumsfeld below:
Fareed Zakaria: When you look back over 10 years and you look at where we are, doesn't it strike you that the Iraq War was, at the very least, an enormously costly distraction, a trillion dollars, thousands of lives and it doesn't seem to have been crucial.
Donald Rumsfeld: Well, it's hard to know. I - I think the world is certainly a better place with Saddam Hussein gone.
Fareed Zakaria: But that's not the question. The question is was it central to the war on terror?
Donald Rumsfeld: There's no question but that al Qaeda and Zarqawi and people were in Iraq. They aggregated there and they collaborated...
Fareed Zakaria: Largely after we invaded...
Donald Rumsfeld: Exactly.
Fareed Zakaria: Butif we hadn't invaded, they wouldn't have been there. So that's the...
Donald Rumsfeld: We don't know that. You don't know that. I don't know that.
Fareed Zakaria: But they went in to fight us. So since if we weren't there, why would they have gone into Iraq?
Donald Rumsfeld: Well, why have they gone into Yemen? Why have they gone into Somalia? Why does al Qaeda go anywhere? They go where it's hospitable.
Also, here's Donald Rumsfeld on the military budget:
Donald rumsfeld: Today, with a debt crisis and a deficit crisis, we are about ready to make the same mistake we've made after World War II, after Vietnam and Korea and then after the Cold War - pare down our intelligence, cut the budgets in the Defense Department and think we can get away with it.
We got away with it in earlier years. It's in efficient. You then have to crank it back up, which is what President Reagan had to do after the Carter years and what President George W. Bush had to do after the George Herbert Walker and Clinton years, after the end of the Cold War.
If we make that mistake again, it seems to me, we're doing it in an environment that's notably different. The margin for error for political leadership in our country is different today, because of the lethality of weapons. And if we do what it looks like the Congress is going to do, think they can balance the budget off the Pentagon, I think it will be a tragic mistake for the country.
Watch the full interview on CNN Sunday at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.