"Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis," he wrote in the Washington Post.
That brought objections from both former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a refugee from the Nazis who served in World War II, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as President Jimmy Carter's national security advisor. Both men appeared on CNN's "Late Edition."
"That is really absolutely crazy to anyone who knows history," Brzezinski said. "There was no alternative to our presence. The Germans were totally crushed. For Secretary Rumsfeld to be talking this way suggests either he doesn't know history or he's simply demagoguing."
Kissinger said Iraq and Germany are not comparable because there was no resistance movement in Germany once the war ended.
Rumsfeld blamed the news media for inaccurate characterizations of the situation in Iraq. He said negative statements like "time is not on our side" and "morale is down" apply more to the terrorists and insurgents than to the U.S.-led coalition.