Rumsfeld warns against ignoring history in war on terror

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Americans must take a lesson from history and not believe the terrorist threat has been exaggerated or will go away, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Wednesday.
He described a new, more ruthless and lethal terrorist enemy, "with no territory to defend, no treaties to honor, that measures progress in terms of decades, not days."
"With this sort of enemy, we cannot afford — and indeed could not survive — another holiday from history," Rumsfeld said.
Contending there are those who say terrorism is "somebody else's problem, or it will go away," Rumsfeld countered that United States has no choice but to go on the offensive. And he urged patience with the Iraqi and Afghan governments as they struggle to build their democracies.

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Jeffery Ewener - 10/21/2006

He's certainly one of the top guys to go to, if the subject is not honoring treaties.

Mary Jane VanEsselsttyn - 10/21/2006

What does Mr Rumsfield mean by ignoring history? Since when has the secretary of Defence been telling the truth about anything? The root of our problem today is lack of honesty and our willingness to believe those who have lied to us repeatedly. It seems to be a national disease that may become fatal unless sanity is restored. When have Americans learned anything from history although it has been said history is a mystery.Maybe its time for Mr Rumsfield and his cohorts in the White House to become history before it is too late and we become embroiled in more unwinnable wars our leadership brought on themselves through their own arrogance. "Those who have failed to learn from the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them"

Vernon Clayson - 10/21/2006

Ms. Kazmier, your cynicism would be more appropriate for the mad bloggers on Slate, this site is for serious commentary. Sec. Runsfeld is a functionary insofar as awarding contracts. He cannot arbitrarily expend money, there are numerous controls and channels, including the Congress, to satisfy and Congress can bring any expenditure to a screeching halt, blame them, not the messengers. Yours is the same tired screed that has been used against VP Cheney for years. The Dept. of Defense is a vast complicated business with numerous checks and balances, there are no loose cannons in the organization itself, the loose cannons are in their overseer, the Dongress.

Lisa Kazmier - 10/20/2006

Not only is Rumsfeld's version of history suspect, I wonder if his goal is to contain or defeat terrorism versus endlessly talking about it (while rewarding friends with lucrative contracts) in order to keep using it as an election issue.

Yep, I'm a cynic.