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Secretary Rumsfeld Radio Interview with the Michael Reagan Show

Presenters: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Michael Reagan
February 21, 2006

Secretary Rumsfeld Radio Interview with the Michael Reagan Show

            REAGAN:  As promised the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld joins me on the hotline.

            Mr. Secretary, welcome to the show.

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  Thank you very much.  I'm delighted to be with you.

            REAGAN:  It's good to have you with me.  What a fine day.  How are you feeling?

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  I could not be better.  I feel just terrific and things are going well and it's good to have a chance to talk to you and your listeners.

            REAGAN:  You haven't been attacked lately.  My goodness gracious, you haven't been doing anything wrong.

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  Oh, my.  Listen, it goes with the job I'm afraid.

            REAGAN:  You'd think you would have learned a long time ago it goes with the job, but you just keep on going head long into it, don't you?

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  Absolutely.

            REAGAN:  Are you having fun at all?

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  I am.  I am.  Fun, I don't know if the word quite is fun.  But do I feel privileged to be doing what I'm doing at this important time in our country's history?  You bet.  Do I value and feel honored to be able to work with these wonderful young men and women in uniform all across the globe, you bet I do.  And it is important work.  It is something that needs to be done and I'm in a circumstance in my life that I can do it and I'm proud to be doing it.

            REAGAN:  Let me ask you, because you visit with these young men a lot.  I've been back to Walter Reed Army Hospital myself, visited with some of the men and women there, and they are so uplifting when you walk in and see them.  You're the one that feels bad.  They're the one who in fact make you feel better about this war on terror.  What do you say to them when you see them?  I'm sure they have many questions.

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  As a matter of fact I was out there yesterday afternoon and evening actually at Bethesda in this instance, where the Marines are and the Navy personnel who have been wounded.

            You're quite right.  If you ever get down and you want to get up and inspired, go to Walter Reed or Bethesda or Brooke Army Hospital or one of those places and meet with the troops who have been wounded and their families and their loved ones and their children, and you cannot help but come away just so amazed at their courage, at their talent, at their dedication to this country.  Every one of them's a volunteer.  Every one of them is an individual who knows what they did and why they signed up and know that they're proud of the contribution they're making to the protection of the American people and the protection of our country.  They know they follow a long line of men and women in uniform from prior wars and they're so appreciative of the support they get from the country and from the American people, it's a thrill to be with them.

            REAGAN:  I believe there's what, the America Supports You program also?

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  It is.  You can go onto the web site, AmericaSupportsYou.mil and find things that school groups and corporations and organizations of all types are doing to support the troops, and not just the troops, but to support their families too.  If you think about it, their families also sacrifice, they also serve, and there are long periods of separations from their loved ones and the AmericaSupportsYou.mil web site gives people a chance to see what other people are doing.

            I met with some of those folks this weekend, and the numbers of different things they do to support the troops and their families is just fascinating.  It shows the creativity of the American people.

            REAGAN:  We keep on hearing from the media and from the Democrats about the WMDs, where are the WMDs, they're still stuck on that.  And I think it was a couple of weeks ago an Iraqi commander, a general, talked about the fact that there were weapons of mass destruction and they were sent to Syria before the war began.  What do we know about that?

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  Well, it's the kind of thing that, I read the same piece you did or at least something related to it, and we see that type of thing from month to month where somebody finds some chemicals and wonders where they were or where they had been or how old they are.  Others come up and comment about things they believe they know.  You know, until we get it nailed down it's perfectly appropriate for people to comment about all of those things, but those of us in government have to undertake investigations and studies to find out what the actual facts are before we comment on them.

            REAGAN:  We have never fought a war like this before, a war against terrorism.  What have we learned, and what changes are we making for the future?

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  One of the things we of course know is the reality that the enemy we face cannot be successful against us in any conventional way.  They cannot defeat our Armies, Navies or Air Forces in battles or skirmishes or wars.  We're not going to lose any battles against these folks.  They will attack us not conventionally but asymmetrically with irregular warfare, if you will, unconventional warfare.  And that being the case it's really a test of will.  It's who has the staying power.

            The terrorists are determined to destroy the governments of the moderate Arabs in that region and to take over their countries and to use that as launching pads for terrorism to terrorize people around the world and to try to reestablish an Islamist caliphate that would impose its extreme views on everyone they could possibly impose them on.

            Now if that's the case it means that the center of gravity, as they say in the military, the locus of the battle is really back in the United States and in the capitals of Western countries so that Western countries will demonstrate the staying power, the steadiness of purpose, the perseverance over time to not be worn down and to not want to throw in the towel and say oh, it's too hard, or it's too long.

            If you think about it, what was it, 50-55 years the Cold War went on.

            REAGAN:  We're still in North Korea and South Korea.

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Exactly.  At least South Korea.

            REAGAN:  There has been a lot of rhetoric that's come from the Ted Kennedy's, the Howard Dean's and others on the left and we in talk radio and in the alternative media talk about this really does give aid and comfort to the enemies because it seems when Osama bin Laden is quoted, he in fact is quoting someone from the left.  He's not quoting Sean Hannity, Mike Reagan, Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz or any of us.  He's always quoting the left and what they are saying.

            Are they giving aid and comfort to the enemy?

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  You know if the battleground is in the United States and in Western capitals, then we need to have that debate.  We need to say to ourselves, is this worth the cost?  Is it worth the time and the energy?  And if you think back to the Cold War, there were people throughout the Cold War who said we should have nuclear freezes, we should pull our troops out of Europe and they would have amendments offered in the Congress from year to year, and yet Administrations of both political parties for 50 years stayed the course and demonstrated the kind of perseverance that was necessary to constrain and contain the imperialistic and expansionist tendencies of the Soviet Union, and ultimately have the Warsaw Pact pull apart and the republics of the Soviet Union pull apart.

            So we can have those debates and that's fine, but we just have to make darn sure we win them, because if we didn't win this debate just as if we didn't win the debate over the Cold War, imagine if we'd tossed in the towel where we'd be.  And if we toss in the towel on this global war on terror, the future of freedom in our country and other free systems would be at risk.  Let there be no doubt.

            REAGAN:  How important is the alternative media?

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  Oh, my goodness, it's critically important.  There are so many different ways that the message can get out today and we need to be much better in government at figuring out how to do that.  We tend to still be a little oriented to the print media.  We tend to be a little oriented to five or six days a week, eight or ten hours a day and not recognize that this is a contest, a competition, a dialogue that's taking place worldwide, 24 hours a day in every time zone on the face of the earth.  We need the internet and we need the bloggers and we need the talk radio and we need the 24 hour news stations, cable television stations.  We need all of those things and we've got to be a lot smarter in how we present what we present.  The great sweep of human history is for freedom, and we need to be proud of what we stand for, because what we stand for has demonstrated the test of time, that free people are going to provide more through free political systems and free economic systems.  They're going to provide more for their people than command systems and control systems and systems under the control, dictatorial control, I should say, of a handful of clerics.

            REAGAN:  Speaking about being smarter, do you think it was smart for the Administration at this time to be announcing this deal to permit the United Arab Emirates to take over the six major US seaports?

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  You know -- [Laughter] -- someone just asked me about that earlier today.  I was not aware of it and I've been trying to get myself up to speed on it.

            It turns out, as you know, the UAE, the United Arab Emirates, is a country that's been an ally in the global war on terror.  We have a port there where they help us.  They have an airfield.  We share intelligence and we have a partnership that has been very, very helpful to the things we do in that part of the world.  They also stepped forward as one of the very first countries and offered a substantial amount of financial assistance with respect to Katrina and have been a country that's been supportive.

            The interesting thing about that is I'm told the following, that the security, this is a matter that's handled by the Department of Treasury.  And they put a lead agency in charge and because it was homeland security they put the Department of Homeland Security in charge of this issue.  And the Coast Guard, of course, has the responsibility for ports.  My understanding of the situation is that the port handling would not change at all.  That the Coast Guard would remain responsible for security in those ports and that if the corporation changes hands, as it apparently has, the same people who handled the port, the dock works, would be the same unions that handle it now and that it would not change anything in terms of security.

            Now that's all second-hand information and I’m told that the Department of Treasury and the Department of Homeland Security are going to be holding some briefings on the subject today and tomorrow.

            REAGAN:  I know you're very short on time.  Anything else you'd like to share with the audience?  One more time tell us about America Supports You?

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  Sure, I'd be happy to.

            We've got these wonderful volunteers all across the globe, men and women, serving in uniform and doing an absolutely superb job for our country.  They're proud of what they're doing as they well should be and their families and loved ones are proud.  It's important for them to know that the American people support them.  So a web site called AmericaSupportsYou.mil has been established where all of the people who have undertaken a whole host of different ways of supporting the military people and their families are shown on the web site and people can get ideas about things they might like to do, and I do hope that folks will go to that web site and take a look and find a way that they can give some support to our troops as well.

            REAGAN:  Mr. Secretary, good friend, thank you for joining me.  We'll do it again.

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  Thank you, I enjoyed it.  I always look forward to talking with you.

            REAGAN:  Thank you very much, sir.

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