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Rumsfeld: World ‘better off' with Assad out of power

"The world, obviously, would be better off with the Assad family out of there," he said during an interview on "CBS This Morning." "But the question is, what comes next? And that's a very tough intelligence question."

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Syrian diplomats were expelled from major western capitals on Tuesday in a coordinated protest of the massacre in Houla, a village near the rebel stronghold of Homs. 

The U.N. Security Council plans to meet Wednesday to discuss options to stop the country's violence and force Assad to relinquish power.

Past U.N. efforts to resolve the year-long fight between Damascus and anti-Assad opponents have been blocked by Russia, a close ally of the Syrian government.

"[U.S. officials are] undoubtedly looking at the full range of possibilities from doing nothing to using military force on the ground," Rumsfeld said.

"The intelligence undoubtedly is going to drive them toward one of those mid-possibilities," he added.

But Rumsfeld predicted international negotiations would prove difficult and said he expected U.S. policymakers to remain reluctant to use a military option.

Many GOP lawmakers and presidential nominee Mitt Romney have called on the administration to provide weaponry to Syrian insurgents. This weekend, in a statement condemning the massacre, Romney said Obama should “arm the opposition so they can defend themselves.”

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney warned that move could lead to more “chaos and carnage” and was “not the right course.”