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Rumsfeld: America Can Win ‘War of Ideas’

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2006 – Wars are won by determination and by understanding the nature of the enemy and the consequences of failure, and the U.S. can be victorious in the war on terror if Americans reaffirm their commitment to the fight, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here yesterday.

“In the long, hard slog ahead -- and it will be long, and it is hard, let there be no doubt -- it’s up to all of us to continue to wage the war of ideas and convey to others the importance of the fight, the scope of the threat, and the consequences of failure,” Rumsfeld said at the Keeper of the Flame dinner at Union Station.

The Keeper of the Flame award was created in 1990 by the Center for Security Policy to recognize those who devote their public careers to strengthening the nation’s security, propagating democracy, and respecting individual rights throughout the world. Last night’s award recipient was California Rep. Duncan Hunter, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

Hunter understands that the world was changed with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and it is now essential to do everything possible to protect the American people and inject a sense of urgency into the government, Rumsfeld said. The need now is to go on the offensive and fight the terrorists on their territory, before they have a chance to attack the U.S. again. “Wars are not won by evacuations,” Rumsfeld said, quoting Winston Churchill.

“They’re not won by retreat or wishful thinking,” he continued. “They’re won by determination; they’re won by understanding the nature of the enemies we face and the consequences -- I would say the dire consequences -- of failing to understand or failing to refute them.”

Rumsfeld recalled the Cold War, when protesters marched against America and critics contended that America, not the Soviet Union, was the problem. In today’s war, it is critical to prevent the “blame America” attitude and to remember the importance of the struggle and the sacrifices servicemembers make every day, he said.

“I know that you all recognize how fortunate we are to have young men and women willing to volunteer, raise their hands and say, ‘Send me,’ … and how important it is that we support them.” he said.

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Donald H. Rumsfeld

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Center for Security Policy

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