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Meeting with Troops
Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, Saturday, April 27, 2002

Thank you very much.  That kind introduction kind of makes it sound like I can't hold a job.   I am delighted to be here -- to be back here I should say, in free Afghanistan.

I also want to say how important it is for me to be able to thank each one of you for the wonderful job that you are doing -- coalition forces, U.S. forces -- the job you are doing for freedom.

The world is determined to stop the tyranny of terrorism.  And it isn't just one country that can do that; it's going to take the coalition of a great many countries working together as each of you are.

The Afghanistan theater has been the first one, but it won't be the last.  It is a place where you are setting an example for how this battle has to be conducted, and there's no question but that Afghanistan is indeed a proving ground.

It's a momentous time.  You have a momentous mission.  You have been commissioned by history to play a key part.  It's dangerous; there's no question.  It's difficult and the American people know it and the people of the coalition countries know it.  They know it because they see it on television.  They know it because they see some of your comrades coming home dead and wounded.

The coalition, this coalition, stands on the front line between freedom and fear.  You stand against an evil that cannot be appeased, it must not be ignored, and it certainly must be defeated.

You've done a magnificent job, each of you, and I am proud and I am grateful and I know that your families are proud and grateful.  They worry about you.  And they too sacrifice.

And when this war is won, and it will be won, you will be able to say that I fought with the coalition in Afghanistan against terrorism and you'll be remembered for it.

Thank you very much.


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