Rumsfeld: American Grit Will Mean Victory in War on Terror
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
RENO, Nev., Aug. 29, 2006 As the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, approaches, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld last night stressed the need for determination in the war on terror.
About 2,300 veterans attend the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Reno, Nev., Aug. 28. During the event, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld received the 2006 VFW Dwight D. Eisenhower Award in recognition of his contributions toward securing the nation from foreign threats. Photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"Today we are engaged in conflicts that are again testing whether or not our country believes that the defense of liberty is worth the cost," Rumsfeld said while addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention here.
The enemy in the war on terror is ruthless and will lie constantly to advance its cause, Rumsfeld said, but history has proven the American people have resolve and determination. He cited American perseverance following the attack on Pearl Harbor, in the battle of Iwo Jima and in the Korean War.
"History has shown time and again that if Americans have the patience and perseverance to see an effort through -- that we prevail," he said. "And the result of that perseverance is a safer and more secure world."
There is much debate in the country about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Rumsfeld called for people to use historical perspective when assessing the situation, and not to focus on setbacks. He said the veterans he was addressing are uniquely qualified to remind the American people that there have been setbacks and difficulties throughout every war in American history.
"You not only have lived history, you have made history," he told the audience. "You not only understand the nature of warfare, but many of you helped to transform the way wars are fought. And you know the price of freedom, because you risked your lives, shed blood, and lost friends in freedom's defense."
Iraq is still the epicenter of the war on terror, and although the insurgents want the world to believe otherwise, great progress is being made there, Rumsfeld said. A country that was once brutalized by a cruel dictatorship is working to secure a future under a representative government at peace with its neighbors.
Those who focus on setbacks in Iraq are fostering a "blame America first" mentality that threatens to undermine U.S. efforts in the war on terror, he said.
There will be setbacks in the war on terror, Rumsfeld acknowledged, but that does not mean the United States is losing ground. Americans have not quit in difficult times in the past, but have seen things through to victory, and will continue to do so.
"Today we will not tell 50 million Afghans and Iraqis that because the going is tough -- and it is tough, let there be no doubt -- that we will abandon them to the beheaders, the terrorists, the assassins, and 21st century fascists who seek to attack us abroad and here at home," he said.
At the convention, Rumsfeld received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Distinguished Service Award for his many years of service to the nation.