Here’s the LA Times write up on Rummy’s blistering Tuesday speech.
Here’s the transcript of Rummy’s speech (my comments on it will follow). Highlights:
That year — 1919 — turned out to be one of the pivotal junctures in modern history with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, the creation of the League of Nations, a treaty and an organization intended to make future wars unnecessary and obsolete. Indeed, 1919 was the beginning of a period where, over time, a very different set of views would come to dominate public discourse and thinking in the West.
Over the next decades, a sentiment took root that contended that if only the growing threats that had begun to emerge in Europe and Asia could be accommodated, then the carnage and the destruction of then-recent memory of World War I could be avoided.
It was a time when a certain amount of cynicism and moral confusion set in among Western democracies. When those who warned about a coming crisis, the rise of fascism and nazism, they were ridiculed or ignored. Indeed, in the decades before World War II, a great many argued that the fascist threat was exaggerated or that it was someone else’s problem. Some nations tried to negotiate a separate peace, even as the enemy made its deadly ambitions crystal clear. It was, as Winston Churchill observed, a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last.
There was a strange innocence about the world. Someone recently recalled one U.S. senator’s reaction in September of 1939 upon hearing that Hitler had invaded Poland to start World War II. He exclaimed:
“Lord, if only I had talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided!”
I recount that history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism. Today — another enemy, a different kind of enemy — has made clear its intentions with attacks in places like New York and Washington, D.C., Bali, London, Madrid, Moscow and so many other places. But some seem not to have learned history’s lessons.
We need to consider the following questions, I would submit:
With the growing lethality and the increasing availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?
Can folks really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists?
Can we afford the luxury of pretending that the threats today are simply law enforcement problems, like robbing a bank or stealing a car; rather than threats of a fundamentally different nature requiring fundamentally different approaches?
And can we really afford to return to the destructive view that America, not the enemy, but America, is the source of the world’s troubles?
These are central questions of our time, and we must face them and face them honestly.
We hear every day of new plans, new efforts to murder Americans and other free people. Indeed, the plot that was discovered in London that would have killed hundreds — possibly thousands — of innocent men, women and children on aircraft flying from London to the United States should remind us that this enemy is serious, lethal, and relentless.
But this is still not well recognized or fully understood. It seems that in some quarters there’s more of a focus on dividing our country than acting with unity against the gathering threats.
It’s a strange time:
When a database search of America’s leading newspapers turns up literally 10 times as many mentions of one of the soldiers who has been punished for misconduct — 10 times more —than the mentions of Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith, the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in the Global War on Terror;
Or when a senior editor at Newsweek disparagingly refers to the brave volunteers in our armed forces — the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard — as a “mercenary army;”
When the former head of CNN accuses the American military of deliberately targeting journalists; and the once CNN Baghdad bureau chief finally admits that as bureau chief in Baghdad, he concealed reports of Saddam Hussein’s crimes when he was in charge there so that CNN could keep on reporting selective news;
And it’s a time when Amnesty International refers to the military facility at Guantanamo Bay — which holds terrorists who have vowed to kill Americans and which is arguably the best run and most scrutinized detention facility in the history of warfare — “he gulag of our times.” It’s inexcusable. (Applause.)
Those who know the truth need to speak out against these kinds of myths and distortions that are being told about our troops and about our country. America is not what’s wrong with the world. (Applause.)
The struggle we are in — the consequences are too severe — the struggle too important to have the luxury of returning to that old mentality of “Blame America First.”
Read it all. And then you’ll understand why Rummy foes are so fired up at him – again. Because he’s right.
This is a speech that should have been given long ago, by the President himself. It’s time to take the gloves off and clearly distinguish who is part of the problem and who is part of the solution. It looks like the GOP now is doing just that. Better late than never.
Democrats frequently accuse the admin of trying to ‘stifle’ debate in this country, but I wonder if they’ve looked in a mirror lately when they’ve made that assertion? They are the ones who have, by repeated howls of outrage, made it so that any Republican who questions their patriotism is portrayed as a mean-spirited intolerant conservative ‘warmonger’ by the MSM, and now they’re trying to say that we can’t call the enemy for what it truly is and is about: Islamofascism – they don’t like the use of the word “fascists” to describe an enemy who is very much like the one Rumsfeld described in his speech with the comparisons of this war to WWII. Islamofascists are who we are fighting. They’re not just interested in hurting and killing the ‘infidels’ – they’re interested in forcing people to convert to Islam, and on an even bigger scale, turning democratic Western nations into Islamic states. That is what fascism is.
The main reason, of course, that Democrats are bristling at Rummy’s speech is because he’s helped bring back to the forefront an issue they are known to be weak on: the war on terror. Hammering home that we are still at war and have a clearly defined enemy reminds people of how weak Democrats are on national security issues and how much stronger the President – and Republicans – have been on national security since 9-11. As I noted last night, a new Gallup poll indicates that perhaps Americans are rembering that again. Democrats don’t like reminders of 9-11, they don’t like reminders that we are at war, and they don’t like anyone trying to define an enemy that they either can’t, don’t, or won’t understand.
It’s been nearly 5 years since 9-11, and at this point if the current crop of Democrats in Washington still don’t understand who and what it is we’re fighting, they never will. It’s a sad commentary on the current state of the Democratic party, a party who is desperately fighting to take back control on Congress so they can prove to America that they can be ‘tougher’ on terrorism than Republicans – how they can do that, though, when they have a fundamental ignorance and/or misunderstanding of who the enemy is, remains a mystery. I hope we don’t have to find out.
UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt slams appeasing Dems.
UPDATE II: How could I have forgotten the “You’re a chickenhawk so you can’t comment!” argument? Yet one more way Democrats try to stifle debate.
UPDATE III: The lefties are foaming mad – and Olbermann’s the big hero of the day for his ‘special’ comments last night on Rummy.