Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld suggested in a speech to veterans that those who oppose the administrations policies in the Iraq war and the war on terrorism haven't learned the lesson of WWII: you cannot appease a vicious enemy.
Once again conflating the war against Al Qaeda and the war in Iraq, the Bush administration is trying to rescue its disasterous Iraq policy by smearing its opponents as weaklings in the war on terrorism. Really? Consider this, Mr. Rumsfeld. Had we not invaded Iraq, might we have used the 140,000 troops there and the billions of dollars being squandered for a more effective war on terrorism? There was no--let's repeat that--no terrorist threat directed at the U.S. coming out of Iraq before we invaded. No one wants to appease terrorists, Mr. Rumsfeld. Nor, however, will your smears scare us into appeasing you.
For the beginning of a news report on Rumsfeld's talk, see below.
Rumsfeld Says War Critics Haven't Learned Lessons of History . August 30, 2006, New York Times
By DAVID S. CLOUD
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday that critics of the war in Iraq and the campaign against terror groups ''seem not to have learned history's lessons,'' and he alluded to those in the 1930's who advocated appeasing Nazi Germany.
In a speech to thousands of veterans at the American Legion's annual convention here, Mr. Rumsfeld sharpened his rebuttal of critics of the Bush administration's Iraq strategy, some of whom have called for phased withdrawal of United States forces or partitioning of the country.
Comparing terrorist groups to a ''new type of fascism,'' Mr. Rumsfeld said, ''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?''
It was the second unusually combative speech by Mr. Rumsfeld to a veterans group in two days and appeared to be part of a concerted administration effort to address criticism of the war's conduct.