Wednesday, August 30, 2006
"It is unknowable how long that conflict [the war in Iraq] will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months." - Don Rumsfeld Feb. 2003
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday accused critics of the Bush administration's Iraq and counterterrorism policies of lacking the courage to fight terror.
In unusually explicit terms, Rumsfeld portrayed the administration's critics as suffering from "moral and intellectual confusion" about what threatens the nation's security.
Addressing several thousand veterans at the American Legion's national convention, Rumsfeld recited what he called the lessons of history, including the failed efforts to appease the Adolf Hitler regime in the 1930s.
"I recount this history because once again we face the same kind of challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism" he said.
Rumsfeld spoke to an American Legion convention as part of a coordinated White House strategy, in advance of the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, aiming to take the offensive against administration critics at a time of doubt about the future of Iraq and how long U.S. troops must remain there.
Rumsfeld recalled a string of recent terrorist attacks, from the 9/11 attacks to bombings in Bali, London and Madrid, and said it should be obvious to anyone that terrorists must be confronted, not appeased.
"But it is apparent that many have still not learned history's lessons," he said, adding that part of the problem is that the American news media have tended to emphasize the negative rather than the positive.
He said, for example, that more media attention was given to U.S. soldiers' abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib than to the fact that Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith received the Medal of Honor.
Just for the Record:
* December 7, 1941 through May 8, 1945 (VE-Day) = 1,248 days
* March 19, 2003 (U.S. invasion of Iraq) through Friday, August 18, 2006 = 1,248 days