View Full Version : Rumsfeld Says War Critics Ignore History

08-30-2006, 04:29 AM
30 August New York Times - Rumsfeld Says War Critics Ignore History (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/30/washington/30rumsfeld.html?ref=world) by David Cloud.

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday that critics of the war in Iraq and the campaign against terror groups “seem not to have learned history’s lessons,” and he alluded to those in the 1930’s who advocated appeasing Nazi Germany.

In a speech to thousands of veterans at the American Legion’s annual convention here, Mr. Rumsfeld sharpened his rebuttal of critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq strategy, some of whom have called for phased withdrawal of United States forces or partitioning of the country.

Comparing terrorist groups to a “new type of fascism,” Mr. Rumsfeld said, “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?”

It was the second unusually combative speech by Mr. Rumsfeld to a veterans group in two days and appeared to be part of a concerted administration effort to address criticism of the war’s conduct...

In many previous speeches, including some before groups of veterans for whom World War II is a sacred memory, he has compared the government of Saddam Hussein, and the violent resistance since it fell, to the Nazis, and warned explicitly against appeasement there or in the broader campaign against terrorism, comparing it to the error of appeasing Hitler.

While he did not directly compare current critics of the war in Iraq to those who sought to appease Hitler, his juxtaposition of the themes led Democrats to say that he was leveling an unfair charge...

08-30-2006, 04:36 AM
30 August Washington Post - Rumsfeld Assails Critics of War Policy (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/29/AR2006082900585.html) by Ann Scott Tyson.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld warned yesterday that "moral and intellectual confusion" over the Iraq war and the broader anti-terrorism effort could sap American willpower and divide the country, and he urged renewed resolve to confront extremists waging "a new type of fascism."

Drawing parallels to efforts by some nations to appease Adolf Hitler before World War II, Rumsfeld said it would be "folly" for the United States to ignore the rising dangers posed by a new enemy that he called "serious, lethal and relentless."

In a pointed attack on the news media and critics of President Bush's war and national security policies, Rumsfeld declared: "Any kind of moral and intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can severely weaken the ability of free societies to persevere."...

With polls showing that a majority of Americans believe it was a mistake for the United States to invade Iraq and with many Democrats calling for a deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops, Rumsfeld called the Iraq war the "epicenter" of the struggle against terrorism. Last week, Bush said that setting a timetable for a troop withdrawal would embolden the enemy and cause chaos in Iraq and throughout the region...

Jack Reed (D-R.I.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he took exception to what he considered the implication that critics of the administration's military policies are unpatriotic. He noted that there are "scores of patriotic Americans of both parties who are highly critical" of Rumsfeld's handling of the Defense Department.

Rumsfeld obliquely acknowledged mistakes and setbacks in Iraq, quoting the French statesman Georges Clemenceau as calling all wars "a series of catastrophes that results in victory." Moreover, in a reference to recent charges of war crimes against U.S. troops in Iraq, Rumsfeld said that "in every army, there are occasionally bad actors -- the ones who dominate the headlines today -- who don't live up to the standards of their oath and of our country."

Rumsfeld stressed that it is misguided for Americans to fall into self-blame and to "return to the destructive view that America -- not the enemy -- is the real source of the world's trouble." He blamed the U.S. media for spreading "myths and distortions . . . about our troops and about our country."

He said a database search of U.S. newspapers produced 10 times as many mentions of a soldier punished for misconduct at Abu Ghraib prison than of Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith, a Medal of Honor recipient...

08-30-2006, 10:04 AM
Well there is a surprise, a politician supports his own actions and attacks those who disagree with him.

Steve Blair
08-30-2006, 02:24 PM
Just like reporters who spin things to support their own viewpoints and ignore or attack those who disagree with them....;)

SSG Rock
08-31-2006, 08:20 PM
I think Rumsfeld did a little ignoring himself prior to the invasion as well.

If Fiasco is accurate (I'm halfway through it now) Rumsfeld should have resigned a couple of years ago, if Fiasco isn't accurate, Rumsfeld should sue the author. Wonder which it will be?

09-01-2006, 02:59 AM
Actually, today's opponents of the war in Iraq are worse than the appeasers of Nazi Germany. Sure they advocated appeasement, but after Pearl Harbor, most of them (except Janette Rankin) got behind the war effort and put their political beliefs aside. Even after 9-11, opponents of the War on Terror are still trying to find ways to say America deserved it. Also, none of them volunteered to be "human shields" for Adolf Hitler.

I don't have a beef with war protesters, but I'd be lying if I said none of them were cheering for the enemy; and that's something that few of the 1930 Nazi appeasers even came close to.

Bill Moore
09-01-2006, 04:27 AM
There were a number of Americans who were pro Nazi during WWII, and thousands who were pro communist. As for suicidal fighters, don't forget the Japanese. The bottom line is our great melting pot, didn't melt everyone into a true believer and patriot.

Do you really think any administration would not have engaged Afghanistan and Al Al Qaeda after 9/11? Not every administration would have taken a detour into Iraq, but any democrat, independent or republican would have been compelled to take the fight to Al Qaeda and defend the homeland. Al Qaeda has definitely been hurt and degraded, but now other radical groups are forming and using our activities in Iraq as the crux of their IO campaign to garner support and recruits. Don't forget there was an 8 year separation between the first and second WTC attacks, so it is definitely premature to say our polices are effective. I think the administration has made a number of good policy decisions, but I think any administration would have done the same.

09-01-2006, 06:20 AM
The second world war was waged in an immensely different political and social climate. FDR had just brought the United States back from the brink of economic doom in the mind of most Americans. He'd been agitating against the Axis powers for some time before Pearl Harbor, as well. Combine the two with the natural tendency of any nation to come together after an outsider attacks and you've got one hell of a mandate. Moreover, America had a different place in the world: free democracies were literally besieged on all sides and the United States was not considered a great military power. People were also, I believe, more tolerant of violence in all forms as government policy: war, police shootouts with criminals and the death penalty weren't looked at with as much distaste as in our day. War, while not strictly legal, was hardly as illegal as it is today. Certainly the enormous pressure of third world countries did not exist because most of them were helpless colonies.

George W. Bush, on the other hand, has had an immensely bad hand dealt to him. Mistrust of the federal government still runs high since the abuses of the Watergate era and before. His election, far from being the landslide of a national savior, was riddled with strife and missteps. Terrorism, spreading democracy and freeing people worldwide were not administration priorities. The purpose of our operations in Iraq is nowhere near as clear as were those against the Axis. We are coming off an era of unprecedented prosperity and peace. Worse, we have extremely high expectations of our military: Panama, Desert Storm and Kosovo were all quickly, cheaply and decisively won. In fact, as of September 10, 2001 the United States had really suffered only one military setback (Somalia) in nearly twenty years. Add to that an international climate strongly against the use of military force.

It's not a matter of moral and intellectual confusion, nor of treasonous war protesters or Islamo-sympathizers. It's the fact that we are in about the worst possible political, informational and strategic position. The only saving grace is that Iraq and Afghanistan are located at an incredible physical distance from the United States instead of being right on our border somewhere (we are better at projecting power than our foes).

Frankly, if the administration's speeches would speak to how bad things are, strategically, as opposed to how good they are tactically we'd have a lot better national decision making.

09-02-2006, 10:19 PM
The comparison of those who oppose administration polices to Nazi appeasers is little more than an effort to limited debate and a pretty dumb one at that. To compare the two sets the bar a bit high for things like Iraq where even if you believe they where a threat obviously the timing of attack was decided by the administration not some action from aboard. During WWII Americanís rationed gas, paid, higher taxes, where drafted, etc, however during this war the administration has just gone further into debt not asking American to sacrifice, hardly a sign that they are looking at it as being as serious as WWII.