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Rumsfeld: Countries Must Work Together to Fight Terror

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2006 – The international community must stay united to fight the terrorists who have declared war against all free nations, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in Germany Feb. 4.

"We have an opportunity to help to write a new chapter in the history of freedom while these enemies are on the defensive," Rumsfeld said at the 42nd Annual Munich Conference on Security Policy.

"This is, as it has been in earlier decades, a time to work together closely," the secretary said. "No nation can succeed in the war on terror without close cooperation with other nations."

Violent extremism is a threat to the way of life of free nations, and is as real in Europe as it is in America and other countries, Rumsfeld said. To face this threat, the world's democracies, joined under NATO, must work together to achieve success against terrorists, he said.

The strategy for success includes using all elements of national power to prevent terrorists from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, defending homelands through shared intelligence and law enforcement, and helping friendly nations increase their capabilities to fight terrorism, Rumsfeld said.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, NATO countries must give the people assistance to ensure success of their new democracies, Rumsfeld said. In Iran, the international community must continue to seek a diplomatic solution to stop development of the uranium enrichment program, he said.

"The Iranian regime is today the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," he said. "The world does not want - and must work together to prevent - a nuclear Iran."

The war on terror is not a war between the West and the Muslim world, Rumsfeld said, but is a war of ideas within Islam.

"Most of the people in the Middle East do not share the violent ideology of al Qaeda or other violent extremists," he said. So to make sure terrorists don't prevail in the Middle East, NATO countries have a few tasks ahead, Rumsfeld said.

First, they must work to make the proliferation security initiative a success, he said. Second, they must help countries like Georgia train their security forces, and work with nations in the Caucasus and Central Asia through the Partnership for Peace programs.

Lastly, they must continue to transform NATO for the 21st century, investing in the NATO response force, broadening common funding, and encouraging NATO to develop an expeditionary culture and capability, he said.

This will be a long war that is different from any ever fought, Rumsfeld said, and lethal weapons are becoming more available to the enemy. The key to success is to remember that, even though the international community has disagreed on things in the past, they have never lost their will when faced with a real challenge, he said.

"Freedom prevailed because our free nations showed resolve when retreat would have been easier, and showed courage when concession seemed simpler," he said.

"Today, our countries have another choice to make. We could choose to pretend, as some suggest, that the enemy is not at our doorstep. We could choose to believe, as some contend, that the threat is exaggerated. But those who would follow such a course must ask: What if they are wrong?"

The international community must speak with one voice to terrorists to say that periodic differences do not mean disunity, and they will continue to defend the rights of their citizens, Rumsfeld said.

"Liberty, the legacy of our forefathers and the right of our children, will not, by us, be idly surrendered or bargained away," he said. "Instead it will live and endure for generations to come."

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Donald H. Rumsfeld

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