Rumsfeld says what needs to be heard
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld spoke at an American Legion conference in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, and gave the (presumably sympathetic) room an earful of what, sadly, will be more criticized than appreciated by mainstream media and its viewers/listeners.
Here are a few of the more important points Rumsfeld made:
* "America is not what is wrong with the world."
* According to the Salt Lake Tribune, "Rumsfeld said the war in Iraq is fought just as much in the media as it is on the ground, and in that media war America is losing."
* "With the growing lethality and the increasing availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?" "Can folks really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists?"
* "Any kind of moral or intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can weaken the ability of free societies to persevere."
Taking on the Bush administration's current critics, Rumsfeld referred to the period before the earlier war, and said that "some seem not to have learned history's lessons."
"It was a time when a certain amount of cynicism and moral confusion set in among Western democracies, when those who warned about a coming crisis -- the rise of fascism and Nazism -- they were ridiculed or ignored," Rumsfeld said.
"Indeed, in the decades before World War Two, a great many argued that the fascist threat was exaggerated or that it was someone else's problem. Some nations tried to negotiate a separate peace, even as the enemy made its deadly ambitions crystal clear."
"It was, as Winston Churchill observed, a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last," Rumsfeld added.
"I recount that history because, once again, we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism," he said.
* From a speech to VFW on Monday: "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."
I particularly love Rumsfeld's comment about "intellectual confusion" as it sums up in the smallest possible number of words the real problem with the left today. Politically, I believe Rumsfeld's message would resonate with Americans and it will be a GOP strategy to try to tie this sort of message to the Republican Party while painting the Dems as the party that believes America is what is wrong with the world. If Rove and Co. are successful with that marketing, it will be enough to hold Congress for the GOP.
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