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Easton (MD) Star Democrat
September 19, 2006

Spitzer Misquotes Secretary Rumsfeld

Carlton Spitzer’s Sept. 1 column, which discussed Secretary Rumsfeld’s recent address to the American Legion National Convention, was inaccurate. Mr. Spitzer wrote that Secretary Rumsfeld claimed “critics of the administration’s policies ’weaken the ability of free societies to persevere.’”

This it is not what the Secretary said. In fact, the Secretary warned that: “[I]n any long struggle or long war, any kind of moral or intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong, can weaken the ability of free societies to persevere.” (emphasis added) He did not equate this notion with critics of the administration. Mr. Spitzer also falsely claimed that the Secretary “equate[d] constructive dissent in a free society to efforts by some leaders 67 years ago to appease Adolf Hitler.”

He said nothing of the kind, which is why Mr. Spitzer could not quote the Secretary as having said anything of the sort.

In fact, the Secretary’s remarks were an effort to remind people of the similarities between past and current periods in U.S. history, so that a mentality of dismissing real and gathering threats while focusing nearly exclusively on American imperfections does not undermine our nation’s ability to prevail in what will be a long and difficult struggle against violent extremists.

We invite your readers to read the full text of the Secretary’s remarks at www.defenselink.mil/speeches.

DORRANCE SMITH, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs

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