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March 9th, 2011
11:27 AM ET

Clips From Last Night: Donald Rumsfeld on 9/11, "War on Terror"... and son's addiction

On last night's "Piers Morgan Tonight", Piers Morgan interviewed former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld said using the term "War on Terror" was a mistake. "I had several problems with the phrase," said Rumsfeld, who argued against its use, but was ultimately overruled. "Terrorism is a technique, and what we really were engaged in was a competition of ideas with radical extremists."

Check out more clips from the show below – including Rumsfeld discussing a very personal story about his son's addiction, and recovery:.

Here, Rumsfeld talks about exactly what he was doing, and what he initially thought, when he found out about 9/11:

And Rumsfeld also discussed his son's addiction, and recovery:

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  1. jgrubb

    Piers Morgan continues to interrupt his guests when they answer the question he asks. He continues to insert his opinion into theirs. WHY?? I find him showing his ego every night that I have watched him, and I'm about ready to
    quit watching. Everyone I have mentioned this to agrees with me or has not bothered to watch at this time. He needs
    to think before he speaks, and listen more. He isn't the only guy on TV.

    March 9, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jusru

      Yes, I agree... I find it irritating when he asks a question and then doesn't wait for the answer..
      I like Piers but will soon not be watching if he contines to do this.. A shame because he asks some thought provoking
      questions but do wish he would be patient and wait....I do want him to do good...but....if I stop watching maybe others will too....

      March 10, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Betty

    Rumsfeld did and excellent job of putting Piers Morgan in his place. I enjoyed his interview very much but I did not enjoy Piers' interruptions. He was trying to hard to catch him in a missunderstanding. I don't know if that's his job! We watch the program to gain a better understanding of the interviewee and the world.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Sandra

    I was genuinely interested in hearing what Rumsfeld had to say, but it was immediately disappointed when he started lying. I don't know what else I expected... the truth, maybe? How he could sit there and deny that the war was an act of retribution or "pay back," is beyond me. I really think some of these politicians think the American public is dumb as dirt. Even when Piers pressed on that after we got hit with 9/11, going into Afghanistan was an act of retribution, Rumsfeld denied it. That's all I had to hear and then I knew that the rest of the program would be listening to Rumsfeld tell more fairy tales. Switched the channel. Don't have the stomach for their lies anymore. And I do not agree with the criticism aimed at Piers for "interrupting." It's his job to get the information. Some of these people will go on and on and on saying the same thing 100 different ways just so they can stall until commercial. The only way to get through to them is to interrupt them. Piers has an agenda, he wants to get answers to the questions he's posing, he's not like most of the namby pamby interviewers we have out there, he asks real questions and goes after real answers. That, my friends, is a mark of a very good interviewer.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Joshua

    Excellent job Piers!! In the beginning I could honestly not stand you because you don't let your guest finish. However, I am starting to enjoy your shamelessness and I am starting to seriously like your work. It is not often that the Rumsfeld has been under so much pressure. You got him to say phrases he really did not want to say and made some of the legendary claims so obviously false that it was impossible for the lies to go unnoticed. "If not for 911 Rumsfeld would still have invaded Iraq" Yeah right.

    You shift from emotional questions that have easy and likable responses to very pointed and well asked questions that get people of guard. You interrupt mostly when necessary because just as you most people get the point after a few sentences, so no need to babble on.

    Please keep inviting guests like Donald Rumsfeld and Condaleeza Rice and please keep preparing your interviews as thoroughly as you have been doing up to today.

    I wish you all the best.

    March 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Vince

    Great interview with Rumsfeld. Glad you do not let your guest ramble on to establish his agenda and appreciate your intervening and throwing hardballs rather than the softballs that Larry King threw up in his later years. Keep up the good work. Very much enjoying the show.

    March 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Janet

    Would enjoy your show alot more if it were absent of Charlie Sheen for a night or two (or permanently!). I mean really , Piers, Charlie made his way into an interview with Donald Rumsfeld?! Howie Mandel may have OCD but I'm starting to think you have OCS (Obsessed with Charlie Sheen). If you want to help him, let the hub bub die down so he can concentrate on his recovery rather than on fanning his noteriety.

    Other than that I enjoy your show but I think if Charlie is mentioned tonight I am giving up!

    March 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. jane brobe

    PIERS – LLLLEEEEEETTTTT the people answer your stupid questions!!!!!! My god! It's as if you're so hell bent with ego- that you don't listen to a damn word they say. you ask. they talk. you interrupt almost immediately before they can answer what YOU just asked! Get a freaking grip and calm down! You might find that interviewing is a 'conversation' not an interrogation. You might actually start to have an organic experience – where you don't go down an obvious LIST of pre-made questions. if you listen- you may even learn something and your viewers might actually tune back again. right now- all you have is the backing of CNN and a slot that you didn't deserve. Start listening or I will stop listening to you liking the sound of your own voice (which, by the way, is rarely prepared for the talented people CNN! has attracted to come on your show.)

    March 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jerry

    Saw much of PM's program to help mass murderer Donald Umsfeld plug his book. So much for the hard hitting interviewer. Might as well have been ointerviewing Big Bird.

    March 9, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Bijoy

    I liked the way Piers did the job. His approach of interrupting Rumsfeld was brilliant, otherwise he will tell the same story that he did many times. This is the first time I have seen Rumsfeld uttered some phrases that he would not say. I am listeing to Piers from his first day, and was not impressed so far. But he was good in interviewing Rumsfeld. I cannot believe that Rumsfeld still tries to say that Iraq war not a bad idea – what a shame. He thinks that he can sell his argument to American people. At least Piers could make him say something rather than spinning. Good job Piers.

    March 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Grant

    Piers, you are doing nearly perfect. Rumpsfeld and Putin are of the same category. They have a very strong personality and manipulate others and getting away with everything. Always have the right answer but do not trust him for a bit.
    I was afraid you were loosing the debat/Interview, until you mention that you are raised in a military family.
    Saw the body language change in Rumpsfeld but tried to get back again.
    I actually like to see you pin him down like "HardTalk" on BBC. These guys deserve to sweat on your table.

    People who tells you to shut up do not understand what hard interview is, especially with these guys who get away with "Murder"
    Next time better Piers !

    March 9, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RDK

    Excellent interview by Piers Morgan. Can't understand why American journalists are afraid to ask real questions, let alone demand real answers. Thrilling to see Rumsfeld held accountable for his actions for at least an hour.

    March 9, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Paulette

    Secretary Rumsfeld was gracious under fire, a true gentleman, and as usually Piers was arrogant and condescending, it felt like he was looking for a "gotcha moment". Mr. Rumsfeld is way too smart for that.

    Regarding standing up Piers that is very normal I've done that for years, I think better when I'm moving around and not stuck in a chair developing poor posture.

    March 9, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Bob Zelloe

    Great interview with Donald Rumsfeld. Mr. Rumsfeld owes Korean war and Vietman war veterans who were conscripts [draftees] an apology for insinuating that the all volunteer military of todays generation is so much more dedicated compared to the Korean and Vietnam veterans. I would like to point out to Mr. Rumsfeld that many of the over 100,000 military killed in action in these two wars were draftees. Furthermore many of the hero's cited for their bravery were draftees. They answered their call to duty rather than running off to Canada. I served in Korea with many U.S. marine draftees and they were just as brave as all of us volunteers. For a former Secretary Of Defense to make such a statement and to sell books on the blood of these brave young men, is unforgivable.

    March 9, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Simon

    Piers did a better job on this interview than previous ones, although I agree with everyone in saying he needs to let people speak, It makes me cringe at how he doesn't let anyone finish.

    He asks a question, and I think, awesome, great question.. and then I get a 3 second response before he cut's back in and tries to follow on with another one or put his opinion into it.

    I was also amazed at how Piers makes brash statements, calling them the truth, in university we were told to use phrases along the lines of 'It could be argued you went to war for retribution' as opposed to what Piers uses "You went to war for retribution didn't you!".

    I'm actually quite amazed I'm more compelled to voice my annoyance with Piers interview style than to comment on the subject of Rumsfeld.

    March 9, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jackie

    May be the last time I listen to Piers...th th that's all folks! Interruptions with continual negative and twisted accusations – just ask a question and let the man answer. Never heard him interview others in such a state of pious judgment. This isn't partisan – I don't listen to conservative interview hosts who can't show guests reasonable respect. Won't listen to this guy either. Piers' predecessor did not act this way – something to learn here.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Dian McDonald

    Piers,
    You really disappointed me last night. Your agenda overrode your guest's agenda. Your feelings about/against Donald Rumsfeld were evident in your treatment of him. You attacked him on every level - even making fun of his habits of getting up early and working while standing up. Piers, I thought you had a better grasp on human behavior than that. I did not realize you had been living under a rock when it comes to everyday human activities. I don't have your world experience, but I know successful people who get up very early and work standing up. I have seen how courteous you have been to other guests. Why not behave consistenly with people who may not share your political biases? I have been a fan of your show because you know a lot about world affairs as well as pop culture. There are not too many people on TV who share your diversified knowledge of many topics. So, please, work on your manners, and I will remain a fan of your show.

    March 9, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Bluegillmaster

    This guy is war criminal and should be put on trial!

    March 9, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Erika

    Arrrgh – my comments aren't posting again ... and I actually had something substantive to say about Rumsfeld's quote about terrorism being a technique, whereas he saw as more of a war of ideas.

    I'm skeptical of Rumsfeld's claim that he had that degree of insight into the enemy in 2001, because the rationale for invading Afghanistan was that they were state sponsors of terrorism – Bin Laden specifically. There wasn't really the awareness at that point of how fundamentalist beliefs were going to require the military to engage in a battle to "win hearts and minds" to win the war – like wasn't the plan to invade, take down the taliban, and find Bin Laden?

    And there was that same approach that was taken with Iraq – didn't the Bush administration decide to invade under the belief that the military would be greeted as liberators. And the people of Iraq were actually happy to have Saddam out of power, right. Wasn't it only after Rumsfeld decided to disband the Iraqi army that they had trouble maintaining order – then that mosque got bombed and all that sectarian violence erupted, resulting in a rise of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Wasn't it only after that, combined with the lack of progress in Afghanistan, these wars really came to be seen as an ideological battle against extremism?

    Which raises the question – what fuels or helps moderate extremism? Wasn't there actually a rise in reports of extremist chatter at the height of all the chaos in Iraq? With dictators in the middle east are toppling left and right as a result of organic citizen-led uprisings, it seems like people have come to believe that nation-building initiated from the outside isn't really the way to go. Like Piers noted – there seems to be more progress being made towards democratization now, having done nothing, than by waging war ...

    March 10, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse | Reply
  19. John

    Piers was totally pwned by Donald. Every time Morgan tried to guilt or hijack Rumsfeld he got clothes lined. It just goes to show how the liberal media can't actually beat a true conservative.

    March 10, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  20. farwa

    de blame game z still on... de should declare tht who z behind all these useless war n then the courts must trial all those person.. more than 100000 ve been killed in iraq so far without any reason.. the world super power US even after having all the lastest technologies, efficient spy system n strong army has failed to locate a single man, OSAMA BIN LADIN. de uncountable losses of lives n great economic losses worldwide r just due to these wrong decisions. we PAKISTANI r paying de real price of this US millitary adventure... we r the immediate affectees of ur decission, we paid de real price n still no one trust us n u treat us like a sattelite state.. MR.Bush should face de courts

    March 10, 2011 at 3:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Kay

    Piers needs to realize that the interview is not about him but rather its about the guest. You make it seem like the interview is an avenue for you to show the depth of your knowledge. I can recall at least 2 instances where Donald said "let me answer your question". Rather than listening to your guest and flowing with him you get your mind busy with the next question you're going to ask and so there is always a disconnect in the flow of the interview. You talk more than your guest and you call that an interview? Maybe you will be better off with a radio show where you can express your opinion but a TV interview is not meant for that.

    March 10, 2011 at 3:30 am | Report abuse | Reply

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