Magazine article U.S. Department of Defense Speeches

Senate Armed Services Committee Testimony: Testimony Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Washington, D.C., Thursday, June 23, 2005

Magazine article U.S. Department of Defense Speeches

Senate Armed Services Committee Testimony: Testimony Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Washington, D.C., Thursday, June 23, 2005

Article excerpt



Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee.

I am joined today by:

* General Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff;

* General John Abizaid, Commander of U.S. Central Command; and

* General George Casey, Commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq.

These general officers are doing an outstanding job and our nation is truly fortunate to have their able service. And I am grateful and proud to be serving with them.

One year after World War II ended--a leading news magazine published an article about post-war reconstruction efforts in Germany. It was entitled: "Americans are Losing the Victory in Europe."

The author despairingly wrote:

"Never has American prestige in Europe been lower. People never tire of telling you of the ignorance and rowdy-ism of American troops, of our misunderstanding of European conditions."

The year was 1946. But consider how different 1946 looks to us today. In retrospect, it was not a time to despair but to build as they did.

Now it has been one year since the turnover of sovereignty to the liberated Iraqi people. And just as Europe was a central battlefield--ideological and military--in the war against Communist aggression, so too the Middle East and Central Asia are the centers of gravity in today's struggle against violent extremism.

And I know the American people still have the same determination and resolve. They know today as then that these struggles are not won on defense, they are won on offense.

The task is to help more people understand the nature of this struggle we are in. Violent extremists have made clear their intentions: It is to kill as many Westerners and moderate Muslims as possible.

They have access to money, and to weapons--and they are seeking even more dangerous weapons. They are surveying and targeting landmarks in our country.

They have to be stopped. And together with the world we must find ways to encourage any would-be recruits to choose a better path.

Our nation's actions to liberate Afghanistan and Iraq have:

* Eliminated two state sponsors of terrorism;

* Most certainly contributed to Libya's decision to open its nuclear weapons programs to international inspection and renounce terrorism; and

* Encouraged democratic movements in regions that have long been breeding grounds for violent anti-Western extremism

It is not surprising that there are questions about the situation in Iraq today That has always been the case in a time of war It was true in Washington's time, and Lincoln's time, and Roosevelt's to be sure

Today the questions I hear are something like this:

* Is the effort underway in Iraq worth the cost and the sacrifice?

* How are the Coalition and the new Iraqi government really doing?

* When will Iraqi security forces be able to assume full responsibility for securing their country? and

* What happens next, and should Congress set a timetable to withdraw?

I will comment on each of these questions

First, whether the effort underway in Iraq is worth the costs.

It was not long ago, there was relatively little disagreement--either here at home, or in the United Nations--as to the danger the former Iraqi regime posed to the region and the world

The only question then was how long the United Nations should wait for Iraq to comply with the 17 Security Council Resolutions it had defied

By contrast it is important to note what success will mean

Specifically, a free, democratic and peaceful Iraq:

* Will not provide aid to violent extremists;

* It will not plot the assassination of American presidents;

* It will not invade of tire missiles at its neighbors; and

* It will not use chemical weapons on its neighbors or its own people

Let there be no doubt: If the Coalition were to leave before the Iraqi security forces are able to assume responsibility---which--we must not do--we would one day again have to confront another Iraqi regime--perhaps even more dangerous than the last--in a region plunged into darkness, rather than bathed in the light of freedom. …

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