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Defense Department Update
August 3, 2006 - Bush Welcomes Iraqi Prime Minister

Secretary Rumsfeld today testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee with U.S. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and U.S. Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command. Following are some highlights of the secretary’s opening remarks as delivered.

  • The enemy in the war on terror is waging a psychological war of attrition. The enemy plans attacks to gain maximum media coverage and maximum public outcry. They want us:
    • To believe perseverance is futile rather than necessary;
    • To focus on our casualties and losses rather than on who is causing them;
    • To think about what would happen if we stay in Iraq rather than the consequences if we leave;
    • To be divided, because they know when we are united, they lose; and
    • To point fingers at each other rather than at them.
  • The enemy hears the calls in some quarters for withdrawal or for arbitrary timelines for withdrawal. We need to be realistic about the consequences.
    • If we leave Iraq prematurely, the enemy would tell us to leave Afghanistan, then withdraw from the Middle East, then leave the “occupied” Muslim lands – from Spain to the Philippines.
    • If we acquiesced to these demands, we would then be facing not only the evil ideology of these violent extremists, but also an enemy grown accustomed to succeeding in telling free people everywhere what to do.
    • We can persevere in Iraq or we can withdraw prematurely, until the enemy forces us to take a stand closer to home. But the enemy is not going to give up, whether we give in to their demands or not.
    • We must also think how our words can be interpreted by our troops, by Afghans and by Iraqis, by our 42 allies in the Coalition in Afghanistan and by our 34 allies in the Coalition in Iraq.
  • The war on terror will be a long struggle.
  • The war is not something we asked for, but neither is it something we can avoid.
  • We must remain confident in our mission, in our commanders and in our troops, the most professional in history.
  • We must also remain confident in the common sense of the American people, who having overcome many challenges to create history’s greatest democracy will not be cowed now by murderers and extremists trying to kill everyone they cannot convert and trying to tear down what they could never build.
Last Updated:
12/11/2006, Eastern Daylight Time
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