Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Rumsfeld: U.S. Failing In Battle Of Ideas

He said the government was doing a poor job of countering ideological support for terrorism.
By Associated Press
March 28, 2006

CARLISLE, Pa. - The United States is faring poorly in its effort to counter ideological support for terrorism, in part because the government does not communicate effectively, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday.

Rumsfeld made the remark in response to a question from a member of his audience at the Army War College, where he delivered a speech on the challenges facing the country in fighting a global war on terrorism.

"If I were grading, I would say we probably deserve a D or a D-plus as a country as to how well we're doing in the battle of ideas that's taking place in the world today," Rumsfeld told his questioner. "I'm not going to suggest that it's easy, but we have not found the formula as a country" for countering the extremists' message.

Rumsfeld's audience consisted of more than 300 War College students and faculty members.

He said the al-Qaeda terrorist network and affiliated Islamic extremists were the most brutal enemies the United States had ever seen.

"They currently lack only the means - not the desire - to kill, murder millions of innocent people with weapons vastly more powerful than boarding passes and box cutters," he said, referring to the terrorists who hijacked the airliners Sept. 11, 2001.

Earlier in the day he stopped in Shanksville, Pa., to see for the first time the place where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field on Sept. 11, 2001, killing all 40 passengers and crew and four hijackers shortly after planes also crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In his speech at the college, Rumsfeld described the Shanksville site as a place where "a group of ordinary airline passengers gave their lives in extraordinary defiance of foreign hijackers and in defense of our country's capital."


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