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Rumsfeld Notes Terrorists' Failures, Gives QDR Preview

By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2006 – Terrorists have failed repeatedly to meet their objectives in Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here today.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Accompanied by Navy Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (left), Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfled makes a point during a Feb. 1 Pentagon news conference. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Sean P. Houlihan, USAF

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

"They failed to stop the January elections, they failed to stop the drafting of the constitution, they failed to stop the referendum on the constitution, they failed to stop the most recent election, they failed to stop the seating of the parliament, they're going to fail to stop the seating of a new government," Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news briefing. "They are on the run. ... They have failed in almost everything they have tried to do thus far."

Rumsfeld reiterated President Bush's assertion in last night's State of the Union address that extremists aim to establish a totalitarian regime in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

Terrorists want to "seize power in Iraq and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and free people across the globe," Rumsfeld said.

Rumsfeld also touched on the forthcoming 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review, an assessment of how to better organize the Defense Department to meet future challenges. The QDR will be delivered to Congress Feb. 6.

The QDR deals with four specific priorities: "defeating violent extremism, defending the homeland, helping countries at strategic crossroads, and preventing terrorists and dangerous regimes from getting weapons of mass destruction," Rumsfeld said.

The secretary said the QDR builds on lessons learned in the last four years of the global war on terror, such as recognizing potential threats early and the need to build closer ties with friendly nations.

The QDR also will focus on how to increase the ranks of the Special Forces, the secretary said.

"If there is one thing that is clear, it's that counter-proliferation is a significant task of the United States and our friendly countries around the world," Rumsfeld said. "The risk of very powerful lethal weapons moving into the hands of rouge states and/or terrorist networks is real, and certainly the capabilities that the special operations forces bring in this area are relevant."

Rumsfeld said it is important to increase the number of Special Forces without compromising their quality. "We believe we're going to be able to maintain a very high-quality larger force of Special Operations forces over a sustained period of time," he said.

The 2005 QDR will be the first issued in time of war - "a war that is perhaps unprecedented in its complexity," the secretary said.

Rumsfeld likened the long war against global terrorism to the Cold War, rather than traditional wars such as World War II. "It's not going to be settled with a signing ceremony on the USS Missouri," he said. "It is of a different nature."

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