Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
October 2, 2006
Column Misquotes Rumsfeld Remarks
The assertion in Kurt Stone's column, "Put Rumsfeld out to pasture" (Sept. 18), that Secretary Rumsfeld declared "that anyone who questions the American military's continuing role in Iraq... is morally and intellectually confused'" in his remarks to the American Legion National Convention, is false.
First, Stone simply misquotes the secretary. Second, the secretary actually 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." He did not equate this notion with critics of the administration. In fact, the secretary never mentioned any critics of the Iraq war in his remarks.
Perhaps it would better serve your readers if your columnist precisely characterized Secretary Rumsfeld's speech. 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, Washington, D.C.