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Radio Interview with Secretary Rumsfeld and Monica Delta, UNIVISION, at the Pentagon

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
September 11, 2006
DELTA: We are with Mr. Donald Rumsfeld, maybe the most well-known guy in the United States. (Laughs.)

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: (Laughs.)

DELTA: But first of all, I would like to know how you feel since your surgery?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Oh, much better, much better, much better. They operated on it about a week ago, and I feel like it's coming back strong.

DELTA: Coming back. Okay.

Well, after five years, 9/11, what you can say for the American people or all the world people about what happened and what is happening now, and what is going to happen?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Well, if you think back, five years ago today, this morning, the country was stunned. We had the greatest loss of American life here in this country and any time in our history by a single event, attack, lost over 3,000 people. And if you -- no one could then could have imagined that we would have been successful in not having another attack in the past five years on our soil. Some people take that for granted. I don't. That takes a lot of hard work and a lot of good fortune.

Because a terrorist can attack any time that they want, anywhere they want using any technique they want, and it's not possible to defend everywhere against every technique and every moment of the day or night (off mike). And of course, the purpose of a terrorist is to terrorize. It isn't to kill necessarily; it's to alter behavior. It's to frighten you into doing what they want you to do.

And the wonderful thing about our country is we haven't been frightened. People are still flying in airplanes; people are still traveling, and people are still working in skyscrapers. People are going about their lives, and that means we have not been defeated. It is interesting to me that the terrorists have lost their sanctuary in Afghanistan where they launched that attack. They've lost a friend in Saddam Hussein in his giving $25,000 to the families of suicide-bombers. Forty-eight million people have been liberated and have voted in elections. There's still violence in those countries, but the situation in each of those countries is vastly better than it was five years ago. And we have a coalition of some 80 or 90 nations that are sharing intelligence and cooperating to find the terrorists wherever they are. So good progress has come.

DELTA: Do you think that we are splitting fighting in two worlds -- the people who are with the United States in their war against terror and the other people?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Actually, what's really taking place in the world is a struggle within the Muslim faith. There's a very small number of extremists, violent extremists and the overwhelming tens of millions of Muslims that are perfectly peaceful people, and that struggle taking place within that faith is ultimately going to be won within the faith. And all we can do is try to strengthen and empower those people that believe in peaceful approaches and not murdering and beheading and trying to destabilize the moderate Muslim states in the Middle East.

On the other hand, we have to be realistic, that people are -- that the violent extremists are determined. Their intent is to re-establish a caliphate covering a good chunk of the world, and our task is to see that they're not successful and work with the moderate Muslims, who are struggling against them, to see that they don't prevail in this war.

DELTA: We're going to win?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: You bet. You bet.

DELTA: Last question. How do you feel when -- one of the political issues is that people are asking for your resignation. What do you think? Are the American people happy with your work?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Oh, goodness. You know, history will decide all of that. It's politics time in Washington, D.C. It's an election season. It's always been so, and I expect it always will. I mean, who's ever served as Secretary of Defense during wartime has faced the same kinds of divisions that we see. It happened during the Revolutionary War; during the Civil War; during World War I and II. There were heated debates, obviously, during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Even during the Cold War, there were heated debates, and that's life. That goes with the territory.

DELTA: Such is life. (Laughs.)

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Yes, indeed.

DELTA: What do you think about the Hispanic community?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Oh, listen - I'm a great fan of the Hispanics in our country. They've contributed so much to our nation. And I have a place out in New Mexico, which, of course, has a large Hispanic population, and we have so many friends, and they make such a wonderful contribution.

DELTA: Thank you very much, sir.

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Thank you.

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