Terrorism Won't Be 'Wished Away,' Rumsfeld Says
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2004 The outcome of the war against global terrorism "will determine the nature of our world for some decades to come," the U.S. military's top civilian said here today.
And failure to defeat terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq "would embolden the extremists" and "make the world a vastly more dangerous place," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told members of the Association of the United States Army at their annual meeting.
The terrorists hope televised images of insurgent-caused carnage in Iraq and other places in the world will cause the American public and other nations' citizenry to lose their resolve. "They're convinced that if they can win that battle of perceptions, managing the media and affecting people's thinking, that we will lose our will and toss in the towel," Rumsfeld observed. "Well, they're wrong."
The secretary said he agrees with President Theodore Roosevelt's adage: "The worst of all fears is the fear of living."
"We cannot allow the terrorists, the extremists, to win this struggle and destroy the way of life of free people," he said.
"These enemies," Rumsfeld said, "will not be wished away."
Brutal attacks in Iraq, Madrid, Russia and Indonesia, show terrorists are "perfectly willing to do literally anything to achieve their goals," Rumsfeld said.
And if terrorists obtain weapons of mass destruction, then "the lives of tens of thousands could be at stake," Rumsfeld declared.
The secretary saluted the Army's leadership for doing a "superb" job in directing that service's efforts in anti-terror operations. He also lauded the actions of America's rank-and-file soldiers, calling them "a very special group of selfless volunteers."
U.S. military casualties in the war "have been borne heavily" by the Army, Rumsfeld acknowledged, noting, "Every loss is deeply felt."
The "hard work of history" once again "falls to our country, to the U.S. armed forces, and certainly to the United States Army," Rumsfeld said.
Americans "have been entrusted with the gift of freedom," he said. "And it is for each generation to safeguard and to defend that freedom."
As America's servicemembers battle terrorism across the globe, "they can know that the great sweep of human history is for freedom," Rumsfeld said.
Thanks to the U.S. military, "the Afghans are making it," Rumsfeld pointed out, noting that the Iraqi people "have a good crack at making it as well."
The Iraqi people will defeat terrorism and establish a better life for themselves "because I have so much confidence in the American people winning that test of wills which we face," he said.