Rumsfeld Lauds Air Force Progress in Adapting to Fight Terrorists
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
DALLAS, Aug. 3, 2005 Air Force personnel worldwide have been filling nontraditional roles to contribute to the fight against a multifaceted, adaptive insurgency, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said here Aug. 2.
Addressing a meeting of the Air Force Sergeants Association, Rumsfeld highlighted the different jobs Air Force personnel have been doing in the war on terror. Airmen have been manning gun trucks, guarding supply convoys, and working on Army vehicles, among other things, he said.
On a recent trip to Balad Air Base, Iraq, Rumsfeld said, he was impressed by the work of these airmen, especially the Air Force doctors and nurses who treat coalition forces and Iraqi civilians.
This change in the Air Force is part of the overall military strategy needed to combat the insurgency there, which is unconventional and doesn't face the same limits coalition forces do, he said.
"We face enemies that have no territory to defend," he said. "They have no treaties to bind; they're unencumbered by laws, by bureaucracy, by regulations. They have a significant advantage -- they need to succeed only occasionally."
To defend against this insurgency, the coalition must be on the offensive and be successful all the time, Rumsfeld said.
"Our coalition must be on the attack, rooting out the terrorists wherever they are," he said.
In addition to fighting the terrorists directly, the coalition needs to help other countries develop tools to fight them as well, Rumsfeld said. These countries must be strengthened so they don't become havens for terrorists, he said.
Iraqis continue to make significant progress towards democracy, Rumsfeld said, adding that the resolve of the Iraqi people and the dedication of coalition troops will ensure a victory.
"Let me say that I have every confidence in the world that we will win this test of wills (in Iraq)," he said.