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Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with "The John &Ray Show," WUSN-FM Radio

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
August 06, 2004

Friday, August 6, 2004

Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with “The John &Ray Show,” WUSN-FM Radio

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Hello?


            JOHN:  Mr. Secretary, welcome to USN 99.5 Radio in Chicago. 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  Thank you.  It’s good to be with you. 


JOHN:  Welcome back to your hometown. 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  Thank you.


JOHN:  We certainly picked out a good day weather-wise for you.


SEC. RUMSFELD:  Oh, it’s just glorious in Chicago. 


JOHN:  Don’t you wish the Cubs were home today?  You could slide by there, see the 7th inning stretch? 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  I checked to see if they were.  [Chuckles]


JOHN:  [Chuckles]  So as a Cubs fan, let’s ask you quickly about the Cubs.  I now we have limited time with you, but it’s a big subject in this town.  And since you’re a lifelong Cubs fan.  Now we’re talking to you on Friday.  We’ll replay this interview on Monday.  Do you think Greg Maddux is going to win his 300th this weekend? 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  Absolutely.  He’s due.  He’s ready.  [Chuckles]


JOHN:  I was at the game last weekend.  It was a heart-break.  People booed Dusty Baker when he took him out of the game. 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  Oh, really?  Oh, my.  That’s too bad. 


JOHN:  How often do you get back home? 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  Well, I don’t get back home often enough, I’ll tell you that.  I seem to end up in Kazakhstan and Kyrzykstan and Uzbekistan and Pakistan and Afghanistan and.  [inaudible] change the  name of Chicago to “Chicagostan,” I’d probably get here more often. 


JOHN:  [Chuckles]  Now did you go to school at New Trier?




JOHN:  And if I’m not mistaken, you were quite the wrestling guy there. 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  Well, we had a great team back in those days.  We won the state title for the first time ever back in, I think, 1949 or ’50.


JOHN:  And you went on to be the all-Navy champion wrestler, right? 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  It’s true, but those days are gone forever. 


JOHN:  You know, our buddy Denny Hastert who we have on this program from time to time, he’s a former wrestling coach.  You guys ever get together and throw down? 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  Well, we don’t do that.  He’s a little bigger than I am, but we sure do talk about wrestling from time to time and matter of fact, we both received an award up in New York not too long ago as wrestlers. 


JOHN:  We’re very happy to have Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with us this morning on USN 99.5.  You’re here in town on Friday -- again, we’re talking to you on Friday – to speak to the Council on Foreign Relations here in Chicago.  It’s kind of an update on, you know, the war on terrorism.  Can you give us in your view, how are we doing?  How are things going? 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  Well, you know, it gets fascinating to watch it because mixed together are wonderful examples of progress and success that are taking place in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in other parts of the globe.  And then simultaneously, we have these threats and terrorist attacks and so you have this mixture and I am just absolutely convinced that both Afghanistan and Iraq have a good crack at becoming free systems, political systems, free economic systems and benefiting the 50 million people between those two countries.  And yet, we know that a terrorist can attack anytime, any place, using any technique and you can’t defend everywhere at every minute of the day or night.  So there are bound to be additional terrorist attacks.  And I think it’s the time we’re living in.  We lived through the Cold War for 50 years and I guess we’re going to have to live through this.  But we’ve got a wonderful coalition of countries working together and we’re putting a lot of pressure on the terrorists. 


JOHN:  It kind of makes us long for the days of just us against the Soviets, huh?


SEC. RUMSFELD:  Well, it was a simpler world back in those days when I was in the Pentagon 25, 30 years ago. 


RAY:  We’re getting mixed signals from -- I know there’s a lot of people out there that say Rumsfeld wants to bring back the draft.  And I…


SEC. RUMSFELD:  [Chuckles]  Oh, no. 


RAY:  No, no.  I mean, well, let’s clear that up right away, because I know that’s not true because…




RAY:  … if I’m not mistaking, weren’t you one of the first guys to do away with the draft? 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  I was one of the first people in Congress to introduce legislation to go to an all-volunteer Army and military.  And as a matter of fact, there was a big conference at the University of Chicago with Milton Freedman and a whole host of people and there were many – I testified before the House and Senate as a young congressman recommending that we end the draft.  We don’t need the draft.  We’ve got the ability to pay people what they’re worth and to adjust incentives so we can attract and retain the people we need.  And fortunately, we have a relatively small number of people in the military, compared to our population, so we’re not having trouble attracting and retaining the people we need. 


RAY:  You leave it up to a couple of Chicago guys here on “John and Ray” and we’ll make sure that, you know, you get out there and you get the proper representation, if that’s all right. 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  [Chuckles] 


JOHN:  Talking with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.  A Chicagoan by birth and he gets back to his hometown as often as he can.  Is it true you have a stand-up desk in your office at the Pentagon, so nobody sits down and wastes your time? 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  [Chuckles] That’s not why I have it, but it is true that I have a stand-up desk.  I’ve done that – oh, goodness – since probably early 1970, I think.  And I just feel better if I’m standing and instead of sitting all day.  I work long hours.  I get in there about 6:30 in the morning and generally leave around 7 at night.  And if you started sitting, you just wouldn’t feel good, so I like it. 


RAY:  You know, good for you.  And let me tell you something…


JOHN:   Plus, it’s not well-known, but he has a trap door in front of that desk, too.  So…




JOHN:  … [inaudible] starts wasting his time, he just hits a button and the guy’s gone. 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  If I have guests, I let people sit down and I sit down with them. 


RAY:  You know, they say that if you sit down, it’s not good for your back, so you’ll live a good, long healthy live.  Thank God, that you stand. 


SEC. RUMSFELD:   [Chuckles]


JOHN:  [Chuckles]  How do you get away and what do you do with what little free time you have? 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  Well, I try to sneak away and play squash once in a while, which is the old-man’s squash -- the hard ball squash – and it’s a fast game and you can get a lot of exercise in about 45 minutes.  I like to use a chainsaw and cut wood and chop wood and I ski during the winter. 


JOHN:  Do you have any free time at all?  I cannot imagine in this day and age with what’s going on, that you can even begin to get away or turn off your phone or get away from your aides or anything?


SEC. RUMSFELD:  No, you really don’t.  You constantly have a secure phone at your fingertips because we have these AIRCAPS that are up and somebody has to be the responsible person for them.  So I’m constantly with people with secure telephones and never really out of contact.  I went away on Saturday last weekend and I must have spent six hours that day on the phone or on secure videos with people working through these issues involving the current threats.  But I read and do a little walking and laugh when I’m talking to folks like you.


RAY:  We would like to invite you – John and I have a beautiful ice shanty up in northern Wisconsin…


SEC. RUMSFELD:  [Chuckles]


RAY:  … and when this stuff kind of calms down a little bit, you’re welcome to come wet a line with us. 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  There you go.  I thought John was from Holland, Michigan.


JOHN:  I am from Holland, Michigan.  Yes, I am.  How does he know that? 


RAY:  How does he know that? 


JOHN:  How do you know that? 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  Well, I keep track of you guys. 




SEC. RUMSFELD:  I used to go over to Castle Park over there back in the old days. 


JOHN:  I grew up less than a mile away from Castle Park.  I grew up on Lake [inaudible], I guess, just north of there and I have snuck into Castle Park many times. 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  Isn’t that something?  And of course, I was a Gerald Ford fan and served in Congress with him and worked with him in the White House when he was president and I was chief of staff.


JOHN:  Yeah.  My dad once asked Gerald Ford for his ID when he was president.


SEC. RUMSFELD:   [Chuckles]


JOHN:  And when he was a congressman from Grand Rapids, my dad had a drugstore and Gerald Ford came in there to cash a check years ago.  And my dad says, “Can I see some ID?” and Gerald Ford whipped out his congressional badge. 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  I love it.  [Chuckles]


RAY:  Now we kind of keep track of you, too.  So now that you know that John’s from Holland, Michigan, I wonder is there any chance, any possibility that we might be able to get a Donald Rumsfeld – a poem this morning?




RAY:  Yeah.


SEC. RUMSFELD:  You know what I did not too long ago, I was thinking about Rudyard Kipling and I re-reread the poem “If ” -- the one, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.”  And so I said to my grandchildren, the next time I see you, I’d like you folks to be able to recite the poem “If.”  And sure enough, one of my granddaughters stood up about two weeks ago and went through the whole thing, God bless her. 


JOHN:  [Applauds]


RAY:  That’s nice.  




JOHN:  That’s good.  It’s good advice in this very cantankerous political world and everything else we have going on to kind of keep your wits about you. 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  That’s for sure. 


JOHN:  Well, Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for your time.  We know you’re on a tight schedule.  And whenever you come to Chicago, please feel free to call us anytime, all right? 


SEC. RUMSFELD:  We will do it.  Thank you so much.  I enjoyed visiting with you.


JOHN:  Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

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