Statement as Prepared for Delivery by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Washington, DC, Wednesday, April 27, 2005.
Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, good afternoon.
Sixty years ago, Allied forces fought in some of the fiercest battles of World War II. Many young men lost their lives and were grievously wounded in those battles, and I would be remiss if I did not recognize the service and heroism of at least two of the members of this distinguished committee.
The outcome of that long, difficult struggle helped to transform much of the world--bringing freedom to distant shores; turning menacing dictatorships into peaceful democracies, and longstanding enemies into friends.
Today, another generation of Americans, along with our Coalition allies, have come to freedom's defense. They are helping millions of liberated people transform their countries from terrorist states into peaceful democracies.
Two weeks ago, I met again with our Coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and with officials in countries that are on the front lines of this global struggle. Everywhere we traveled, I saw firsthand our men and women in uniform--volunteers all--undertaking difficult duties with confidence and courage. The debt we owe them and their families is immeasurable. Members of this Committee have visited with the wounded and their families. You, as I, cannot help but come away inspired by their courage, and their skill.
I thank the American people and their Congress for providing the resources and support they need to complete their missions.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the sacrifices they are making have made a difference in bringing about a world that is freer, more peaceful and that rejects the viciousness of terrorism and extremism.
Consider what has been accomplished in three years plus:
* Newly free Afghans and Iraqis have held historic elections that selected moderate Muslim leadership;
* Extremists are under pressure, their false promises being exposed as cruel lies;
* America's national security apparatus is seeing historic changes;
* NATO is undergoing reforms in both organization and mission deploying forces outside of its traditional boundaries; and
* NATO is undergoing reforms in both …