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Rumsfeld: Terrorists Can Win Only in U.S., Media

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2005 – Enemies of a free Iraq recognize they can't win against the United States and the coalition on the battlefield, and the only way they can hope to win is in Washington, D.C., and through American public opinion, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Dec. 8.

"They can't win over there," Rumsfeld said on PBS' "News Hour With Jim Lehrer." "The only place they can win it is in Washington, D.C., and they know that. They are working on it, and they are working it skillfully."

In addition, the secretary said, "they lie" and use the media to circulate their misinformation. He cited false stories circulated by terrorists, including one about a Koran being flushed down a toilet at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Several people died in riots that followed in Afghanistan, reportedly killing 16 and injuring more than 100 people.

Rumsfeld reiterated a point he made earlier this week: that journalists need to be more even-handed in their reporting and ensure they tell the whole story of what's happening in Iraq.

In the rush to get news out quickly, some reporters cut their fact-checking time short, he said. "To find the truth out takes weeks," he said. "To spread something that's not true takes five minutes. And it's all over the globe."

Rumsfeld urged reporters to tell the complete story about Iraq - the progress as well as the violence that tends to dominate the headlines.

He questioned why people "see hundreds of stories on the negative side and handfuls of stories on the positive side about what is going on."

Troops on the ground know the real story, and share it with their friends and loved ones through e-mails and phone calls, the secretary said. But they continue to wonder why this story isn't finding its way into the media, he said.

"All I know is that there are 150,000 troops over there who keep asking me, what in the world is going on?" Rumsfeld said. "Why is the impression in the United States so notably different than the facts on the ground that they see every day?"

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Donald H. Rumsfeld

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