Friday, November 23, 2007

Rumsfeld Speaks

I have always admired Donald Rumsfeld. I’ve not always agreed with every detail but I respect his willingness to be truthfully blunt. Seriously, compare his candor to any of the individuals wanting to be President and spending hours working out how to be simultaneously non-committal and inoffensive. Rummy always speaks the truth as he understands it and if people get offended, so be it. His first public speech since the offended minions pressure him from office is worth the read.

Remarks by Donald H. Rumsfeld: Thoughtful people do not relish the prospect of conflict. Indeed, Americans have assumed the responsibilities of global leadership more reluctantly than any people in history. Today is no different. But the challenges and threats in clear view now - in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and elsewhere - cannot be ignored, wished away, or turned from any more today than in 1946.

These enemies have learned a crucial lesson about warfare in the 21st century - a lesson others seem slow in understanding. Today's conflicts are not only won on the battlefield, but through the use of websites and blogs, over the airwaves and on the front pages of our newspapers. Through skillful propaganda operations, the enemy successfully leverages their asymmetric attacks to encourage potential recruits to join their violent cause and to try to convince those of us in free nations to give in to hopelessness, self-doubt and despair.

Their decentralized networks have been able to effectively employ the tools of the Information Age, while the U.S. government remains ponderous, muscle-bound and unable to respond in real time to the deceits of these enemies. … However valuable in the past, the institutions of the post-World War II period - Industrial Age institutions - have not adapted sufficiently to keep pace with the decentralized networks of the thinking enemies we face today, now well into the Information Age.

It is, to be sure, easy to give in to the pessimism and cynicism of the day - to sit on the sidelines and criticize. It seems that in today's society, it can even be fashionable to blame ourselves. But, contending that America and her allies are the source of the world's problems - that it is America that has brought terrorist attacks on our country - is as reckless and ill-founded today as it has been in the past.

The decision facing America and the world's democracies in the months and years ahead is the choice between acknowledging the determination of those who choose to be our enemies and treating them as they have chosen to be treated - or leaving them free to fight another day, at any place and time of their choosing.

A thousand years from now, Rummy will be several paragraphs in the standard history of the dawn of the Information Age. Nancy Pelosi will be a footnote and Cindy Sheehan not even that.