Rumsfeld: U.S. Must Stand by Principles in Face of War Opponents
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 17, 2006 Nobody likes war and every U.S. conflict since the Revolutionary War has had its critics, but some things are worth fighting for, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today on the "Rush Limbaugh Show."
"There have always been people who have opposed wars. Wars are terrible things," the secretary said on the syndicated radio program. But if the United States had bowed throughout its history to critics and opponents of war, he said the country wouldn't exist as it does today.
"We wouldn't have won the Revolutionary War and we wouldn't have been involved in World War I or II," the secretary told Limbaugh. "And if we had, we would have failed, and our country would be a totally different place if it existed at all, if every time there were some critics that we tossed in the towel."
As just as with these past conflicts, the stakes in the global war on terror couldn't be higher, Rumsfeld said. "What's at stake for our country is our way of life. (Terrorists) want to strike at the very essence of what we are ... free people," he said.
The U.S. government's job is to protect Americans from terrorists who killed 3,000 of their countrymen on Sept. 11, 2001, and have created terror elsewhere around the world, he said.
Rumsfeld pointed to solid progress toward that goal, noting Iraq's strides in standing up its security forces, holding national elections and forming a new government.
"The insurgents do not want the government formed, and there are elements in the country that are actively trying to prevent that," he said, just as they tried to prevent the January 2005 election and every other election since. "They tried to prevent the referendum on the constitution and they tried to prevent the December elections, and now they're trying to prevent the government from being formed," he said.
"But they failed the first three times, and they're going to fail this time," he said. "We're going to get it done."
And the people getting that done, the secretary said, are members of the U.S. armed forces. "We've got such wonderful men and women out there, troops out there serving our country," he said. "They're all volunteers."
Rumsfeld praised the "America Supports You" program, which showcases America's support for the men and women of the armed forces and the myriad ways the country is expressing that support.
"So what we did is we put together a Web site whereby anyone who wants to can get on it and find out what other people are doing to be supportive of the troops and their families, and you can learn what school groups are doing, what corporations are doing, families, nongovernmental organizations," Rumsfeld said.
"There are just hundreds of people who are out there doing things that are supportive of the troops and letting them know that we appreciate their service, their noble service, for our country."