Secretary Refutes Claims Military Stuck in Quagmire in Iraq
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 7, 2005 America is not losing the war on terror, nor is the U.S. military stuck in a quagmire in Iraq as media reports have suggested, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said this week, speaking on two Midwestern radio talk shows.
"Any objective person who looks at this situation has to know that we're not losing," Rumsfeld said on "Hot Talk with Scott Hennen," on 970 WDAY in Fargo, N.D.
"We're not losing tactical battles; we're not losing strategic battles," he said. "The political process is going forward, which is a part of winning; the economic progress is going forward, which is a part of winning; the development of the Iraqi security forces are going forward, which is a part of winning."
The secretary also commented on media reports that suggest support for military action in Iraq is eroding. Such reports led Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, to say before the Senate Armed Services Committee in June that, "We cannot win without the support of the American people."
Although "it's fine" to have "debate and discussion" on the military situation in Iraq, Rumsfeld said, it is important that "we recognize that there are effects from our words."
When people make inaccurate statements that the United States in is a quagmire in Iraq, that gives "encouragement to people who then say to themselves, 'Well, if we just hold out, we may win this thing in Iraq,'" Rumsfeld added.
"Our goal is not to give encouragement to them," he said.
Commenting on the effect the media can have on public opinion, the secretary told Bill Cunningham of 700 WLW in Cincinnati, "If people constantly hear only negative things on television and read it in the media or a large measure they hear eight negatives for one positive, one ought not to be surprised that they're concerned about it."
However, he added, "Given sufficient information they (Americans) find their way to right decisions, and I have a lot of confidence in the American people."
Rumsfeld said there is "no doubt" about the reality of what's taking place in the world and the situation with the war in Iraq.
"We were attacked. We lost 3,000 people. There are some very dangerous people out there trying to get still more powerful weapons to do additional killing in our country," he told Cunningham's listeners. "I think most people with any sense would rather fight them overseas than they would here at home."
Meanwhile, the secretary also pointed out that he is confident the Iraqi people and Iraqi government will ultimately be the ones to defeat the insurgency.
"Regardless of how long the insurgency lasts, in the last analysis it will be the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government that will effectively deal with that insurgency," he told Hennen. "It's going to be a function of how successful they are in moving their political process forward, how successful they are in seeing that they have an effective criminal justice system, and how effective they are in moving the economic progress forward."
The secretary closed both interviews by reminding listeners to visit the department's "America Supports You" Web site. There, he said, listeners can learn of "all the good things that are being done to support the troops."