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6/6/04 - RUMSFELD ON TERRORISM - 2004-06-07

There have been many successes in the war against international terrorists since the September 11th, 2001, attacks on the United States. But U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says that despite those successes, the world is “closer to the beginning of this struggle than to its end”:

“Today, civilized societies face adversaries unlike any we've known. They seek no armistice; they have no territory to defend; they have no public to answer to. They threaten us through shadowy networks not easily weeded out. And they have a powerful advantage: a terrorist needs to succeed only occasionally; but as defenders, we need to be successful always.”

It is impossible, says Mr. Rumsfeld, to defend against potential terrorist attacks all the time:

“The only way to prevail in this struggle is to root out the terrorists before they develop still more powerful means to inflict damage on still greater numbers of innocent people.”

One of the most significant achievements has been the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, which supported terrorists. Nevertheless, since its liberation, Iraq has become a hotbed for home-grown and foreign terrorists. Mr. Rumsfeld says the terrorists are seeking to derail the Iraqi people's effort to establish self-government:

“The extremists know that the rise of a free, self-governing Iraq, at peace with its neighbors, respectful of all religions, and committed to representative government, would deal them a decisive blow. They fear that one day the Middle East might shed itself of tyranny and violence, and carve a new future that does not include them.”

The assault on freedom in Iraq, says Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, shows why the war against terrorism “is important to all civilized societies.” Success in this war, he says, “depends on encouraging friends and allies, with whom we are so interdependent, to not be terrorized by threats or isolated by fears.”