"DR: We're in an environment where we have to fight and win a war where theHere is the meaning of ignoring Aristotle's statement that "A cannot be non-A" or, better yet, Ayn Rand's corollary that "A is A". A thing is itself. A country supporting your enemy is your enemy. Contradictions can't exist. If you pursue them, if you believe you can fight a war and not be enemies with the country you are fighting against; if you believe you can fight a war and never declare you are fighting it -- then you are setting yourself up for a disastrous fiasco. Exhibit A: Bush's "War on Terror". Rumsfeld then adds,
enemy is in countries we are not at war with. "
"DR: That is a very complicated thing to do. "Well, yes, it's complicated to pursue contradictions and to try and make them real. I'm often reminded of Leonard Peikoff's talk long ago on how so many of the intellectuals today (most) hold a sort of "complexity worship" because they refuse to accept the role of principles in clarifying and simplifying our understanding of myriad complexities.
"DR: I don't think I would have called it the war on terror. I don't mean to beYes, don't call it what it is -- a war -- and maybe it won't be... A is non-A. Let's pretend we can continue to work with all our "friends" who secretly try to undermine us.(Aka "sponsors of state terrorism", "allies in the war on terror", "nations who need their behavior modified", "governments who have not been particularly cooperative", etc -- aka, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Yemen, , etc., etc.). Let's pretend we can have a catastrophic attack on the U.S. without defeating them. Let's pretend the world economy won't get hurt. Ad infinitum. Let's play pretend.
critical of those who have. Certainly, I have used the phrase frequently.Why do
I say that? Because the word 'war' conjures up World War II more than it does
the Cold War. It creates a level of expectation of victory and an ending within
30 or 60 minutes of a soap opera. "
Forgive me for such a backward, naive mode of thought, but what the hell is wrong with an expectation of victory? Given the nature of our pathetic enemies, why shouldn't it take 30 minutes?
"DR: I've worked to reduce the extent to which that (label) is used andHere is the real confession -- for all the talk about this being a "war of ideas", he just doesn't get it. The ideas are the entire ideology of the Koran, and while we shouldn't attack any country that has terrorists in it, we damn sure should declare war -- in that old, outdated WWII sense -- against those countries who we *know* harbor, support, fund, train and foment terrorists -- ie, enemy fighters -- against us.
increased the extent to which we understand it more as a long war, or a
struggle, or a conflict, not against terrorism, but against a relatively small
number of terribly dangerous and violent extremists. "
I shudder to think of the convoluted process of non-thought that went on in this administration after 9/11 to try and pretend that they didn't have to deal with the real sources of terrorism (aka, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and especially that old Bush family friend, the Saudis, but let's not forget almost every other Arab sheikdom, either).
You'll notice if you read this long and illuminating interview, Rumsfeld's obsession with the term "extremist". Not that you haven't heard it before, but it gets discussed at length. "Extremist" this, extremist that, extremist, extremist, extremist. *Anything* to pretend that mainstream Islam is *not* the threat that it really is. Anything to pretend that A is non-A.
By the way, Rumsfeld also remarks,
"DR: There are people in the world who are determined to destabilize modern Muslim regimes..."Let me get this right... "modern muslim regimes". Name one. Turkey? Maybe. Except now under the rule of a quasi-muslim fanatic who is leading them back in time to the good old days when men were men, women were scared, despots were despicable and sheep were... well, you get the drift.
Egypt? The land of graft and torture and the homeland of the Muslim Brotherhood, the founding organization behind so much terrorism today, including Al Qaeda. Pakistan? Protectorate of Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri, and home of the ISI, who work hand in hand with the Taliban. Indonesia? Give me a break. Former home of dictator Suharto, and now currently in a state of quasi-anarchy with a police and military who openly work night-shift jobs as pirates preying on shipping passing through the Malacca and Singapore Straights. I'm still trying to think of one.... trying.... trying....... "modern muslim state"? There's an oxymoron for you. Almost like "principled statesman".
"DR: People who argue for more, more, more, as I would in a conventionalMore, more, more. Like we're some kind of children who want too much candy. The great irony -- the real children are those who play "let's pretend". Well, no, more/more/more won't increase enemy recruiting, if you do it right. If you get my intercontinental drift, that is. Hell, you don't even need nukes. Just go after your enemies the old-fashioned way. Just... go after them. Period. Something he doesn't want to consider.
conflict, fail to recognize that it can have exactly the opposite effect. It can
increase recruiting for extremists."
"DR: The more troops you have, the greater the risk that you will be seen as anAgain, not if you wage the war properly. But dammit, we *should* be an occupier if we are going to attack a country and move into it. This notion of Bush and Rummie that we should blast the hell out of the most backwards part of the world, roll in with a couple hundred thousand troops, and pretend we aren't "occupying" it (remember right after we rolled in when U.S. troops were ordered to take down the American flag?), is the notion of a child or congenital idiot. I mean, who, except a deluded fool, could convince themselves that those simple honest folk in the Mesopotamian Paradise of the Prophet will just straighten up and fly right if just make sure the poor devils can **vote**???
occupier and that you will feed an insurgency. "
Give me a break. While they still cling to a culture from 1300 years ago and ideas from One Million B.C.? A time when heads and hands were hacked off (they still are), when women and wives and daughters were beaten, murdered, enslaved and kept in absolute ignorance(they still are)? What fantasyland are they living in?
DR: "Simultaneously, you have the problem here at home. ...If part of the centerSigh. What to say to this? That we *aren't* supposed to want victory? This, again, is the modern wannabe intellectual clinging to his fantasy world where A is non-A, where victory grows in the land of Oz, where no one gets hurt, where we all skip off into the sunset, hand in hand. As the the great philosopher Rodney King once said, "can't we all just get along?"
of gravity is back here in the United States and they constantly see more
Americans getting killed, they ask, 'Where are the victories?' 'Where's the land
warfare victory?' 'Where's the sea victory?' 'Where's the air victory?''Where's
the body count?' 'How many of these people are we killing?' 'How many are we
capturing?' 'How do we know if we're winning or losing?' The more people you put
in, the more you're going to get killed. The argument has been unimpressive, not
terribly thoughtful (or) multidimensional and a bit narrow in this regard. "
Let's follow his reasoning... "The more people you put in, the more you're going to get killed". Therefore, we shouldn't put any in. Right? There's a formula for victory. But we have to defeat our enemy, right? Well, no. We shouldn't ask for victory. So we don't want to defeat him. We should just kiss and make up?
That he regards concepts such as victory as "unimpressive, not terribly thoughtful, multidimensional and a bit narrow" should frighten the hell out of anyone in this country (especially if you have kids in the military), cause, even if he's no longer defense secretary, a significant portion of our defense leadership as well as the entire Administration, believes it. There's the meaning of contradictory premises and complexity worship.
I wanted to end my rant at this point, but reading on, I encountered,
"DR: When we came in (2001), the president wanted to proceed with missileDo you get that?? These morons (sorry, I'm beside myself at this point, but "moron", is actually the correct word, meaning: 'A person of mild mental retardation having a mental age of from 7 to 12 years and generally having communication and social skills enabling some degree of academic or vocational education' -- ie, a correct description of someone unable to grasp principles and who clings to his wishes, hopes and contradictions despite his own imminent danger) actually sat around and seriously debated the importance of calling it the more androgenous "missile defense" instead of being gutsy enough to admit they'd like to defend our country with something that had more hair on its chest, like... "national missile defense".
defense. Even the proponents didn't agree with each other. Some wanted land,
some wanted sea. And the opponents were viscerally against it. It was called
national missile defense so our allies were against it. To the extent we were
successful in defending ourselves, they felt they would no longer be protected.
So we had many meetings. We ended up calling it missile defense and not national
missile defense and our goal was not to separate ourselves from our allies and
I submit that this alone would have been basis for concluding Bush & Co. would make a complete botch of defending this country in the so-called "war on terror". If you don't even have the courage to tell people you're for *national* defense, how can you have to courage to actually defend the nation?
The real cashing-in of this interview is at the very end:
"DR: I read where someone was saying this is longer than World War II. GermanyThis drops just too much context, admits so much ignorance of what happened. Yes, we were dealing with a very different environment... WE DEFEATED OUR ENEMY. Decisively, and left them no hope for victory. This is *not* what Rumsfeld and Bush have done. They have done everything *but* defeat our enemy. We've done the equivalent of defeating fascist Italy (after dropping CARE packages on them along with leaflets wishing them a happy holiday) while leaving the Germans and Japanese in place, with the German government continuing to propagandize and spread Nazi ideology, and while our government engages them in "dialogue" on Al Jazeera -- I mean, the Hitler Youth Channel.
didn't even have a government until 1949, as I recall. And you were dealing with
a very different environment in Western Europe than you are here. "
DR: "...People said the Japanese could never have a democracy. It didn't fitAgain, the context-dropping leaves me breathless. Where's my oxygen bottle? The Japanese, as everyone on the "To:" portion of this list knows, were defeated decisively, their militarist fascist schools of thought were shut down and prohibited by MacArthur, and they were forced to confront the consequences of their actions, rebuild on their own, led by our *occupation* force. Our government, today, refuses to even have an "occupying force" -- we roll in there and pretend the children occupying the place can vote themselves bread and circuses (ie, a government of fascist / socialist theocracy). We get a large-scale re-enactment of "Lord of the Flies" and wonder why it's all going wrong?
their culture, they said. Well, the Japanese are doing pretty well with the
second biggest economy on Earth. "
I read a lot of news (and get very little from TV). For a long time I looked for anything that would provide deeper insight into Rumsfeld -- who appears generally intelligent and perceptive and, early on, principled -- to differentiate his views from Bush's incompetence. A defense secretary serves the President, and, I said to myself, I can't assume Rummy is the rummy he appears to be if he's just doing the President's bidding. I guess I was wrong. This interview proves it.
In Farewell, Rumsfeld Warns Weakness Is ‘Provocative’
Donald Rumfeld w/ Cal Thomas:
Transcript By Cal Thomas
Monday, December 11, 2006
(Editor's note: Donald Rumsfeld, in his first interview since announcing in early November his resignation as secretary of defense, discussed his conduct of the Iraq War and other world defense issues with Cal Thomas, the most widely syndicated political columnist in the U.S. Secretary Rumsfeld's last day in office is Dec. 15. His successor, Robert Gates, is scheduled to be sworn is as the new secretary of defense on Dec. 18.)
Cal Thomas: We meet on the 65th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. People compare wars - Vietnam to Iraq - but there were lessons that came out of World War II. If you were to compare the public's attitude during World War II and the public's attitude over Iraq, how would they compare?
Secretary Rumsfeld: It's dramatic. In World War II, the attack on PearlHarbor was stunning, but it followed a long series of (events) in Europe, and even in Asia, that were not stunning to the American people. The threat that was anticipated on the West Coast was real and palpable. The mobilization of the country, and declaring war, moved us to the next step.The large number of people who went to serve from almost every community in the nation, was an example of the extent to which people were engaged.
I can remember having a victory garden. I can remember buying war bonds for $18.75. If you held them long enough, they'd be worth $25. You could buy them in coupons until you had a whole (book); I remember collecting paper,collecting old rubber; collecting hangers and metal to be recycled into war materials. We were all engaged.
Furthermore, the movie industry was mobilized to support the war. They(filmmakers) wanted us to win, which was an important factor. The situation today, the success that has been achieved in not having another attack on this country in the last five years, has allowed the perception of a threat to diminish, even though the threat has clearly not diminished and, indeed,is real and lethal and dangerous to the safety of the American people.
The fact that it's the first war of the 21st century and notably different from World War I and World War II, is also a problem in the sense that it is unfamiliar ground. There are not big armies, navies and air forces contesting against each other with visible results and unambiguous outcomes.We have, without question, the finest military on the face of the Earth and,indeed, in the history of the world. We can't lose a battle. And we haven't,and we won't.
But the military, given the nature of this conflict, can't win alone. There is no way the military can prevail, because what we are engaged in, in a very real sense, is a battle of ideas (and) a struggle within the Muslim faith between the overwhelming majority of mainstream Muslims and a relatively small minority of violent extremists who have access to all the modern technology - off-the-shelf stuff, very lethal weapons, increasingly lethal and dangerous weapons - and all the technologies of wire transfers and e-mail and the Internet to communicate with each other. So the absence of a good, clear, readily understandable and, indeed, visible war, through photographs and images, creates a notably different environment.
Second, all of the changes in the media in the 21st century. Not only is this the first war of the 21st century from a military and technology standpoint; it's also the first war of the 21st century in terms of the media realities - 24-hour news and bloggers and digital cameras - all the things that can be used and manipulated by the other side, which they do very skillfully.
CT: You've read the Iraq Study Group Report.
DR: I haven't. I've read reports of it and gone through the executive summary.
CT: From what you've read, what is the good, the bad and the ridiculous in the ISG Report?
DR: All I'm going to say about it is what the president said. He has cooperated with it; he has met with them (the ISG) and received their recommendations. Every six to eight weeks he meets with a cluster of people.He has listened to the advice and counsel he gets from Generals Abizaid and Casey and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the period immediately ahead, he will be making some judgments.
It's fair to say that he is faced the country is faced with a situation in which, because of the nature of the struggle and the fact that it is not well understood by the American people, the president has the task of managing and maintaining sufficient support for the things he believes are necessary for our country's safety. He has to take into account the reality that, only if we persevere, do we have an opportunity to succeed. The penalties and consequences of failure are so dire for the country that he has to recognize the center of gravity of this struggle while, to some extent is in the Middle East, is (also), in a very real sense, here in the United States of America. He has to take that into account in reviewing and considering the variety of proposals and suggestions he has received.
We have been working with the military and the joint chiefs and the Central Command. Some time back, I drafted a memo that took into account a variety of suggestions offered by various people inside the (Defense) Department and elsewhere and I asked Gen. Pace to use it as a discussion piece with the chiefs, which he has done as a way of stimulating their thinking. They have been interacting and plan to report to the president in two (meetings).
I personally believe that the consequences of allowing the situation in Iraq to be turned over to terrorists would be so severe not simply because of Iraq's oil, water, wealth and geographic position, population size and history but also because Iraq would become a haven to plan attacks on the moderate countries in the region and the United States. (It would diminish)the ability of the United States to provide protection for the American people.
CT: Dr. Gates, (Robert Gates, Rumsfeld's replacement as secretary ofdefense) in his confirmation hearings, answered Sen. Carl Levin's question,'Are we winning in Iraq?' with a 'No.' Later on he added, 'We're not losing either.' This question seems to fit into the template feeding the withdrawal syndrome.
DR: I didn't see his testimony and don't want to comment on it at all, but if you ask me my view, it is that the military can't lose, but the military can't win alone. It requires political solutions. They've got to have reconciliation. They simply have to take a series of steps that they've not yet sufficiently taken. Set aside World War I and set aside World War II.Think more of the Cold War.
At any given moment during the Cold War, which lasted 50 years, you couldn't say if you were winning or losing. The Civil War, as well. There aren't straight and smooth paths. There are bumpy roads. It's difficult. The enemy has a brain. They're constantly making adjustments. Think of the faces of the Cold War when Euro-communism was in vogue, and people were demonstrating by the millions against the United States, not against the Soviet Union. And yet, over time, people found the will - both political parties and Western European countries - to persist in a way that ultimately led to victory.
The circumstance we are in today is more like that than it is like World WarII. People are going to have to get more familiar with that idea. It's not ahappy prospect. There are people in the world who are determined to destabilize modern Muslim regimes and re-establish a caliphate across the globe and anyone who wants to know about it can go on the Internet and read their own words and what their intent is. They're deadly. They're not going to surrender. They're going to have to be captured or killed. They're going to have to be dissuaded, people are going to have to be dissuaded from supporting them, from financing them and assisting in their recruitment, providing havens for them.
We're in an environment where we have to fight and win a war where the enemy is in countries we are not at war with. That is a very complicated thing to do. It doesn't happen fast. It means you have to invest the time, effort and ability. We don't have the institutions, we don't have the organization and we haven't had the training, as a society, to rapidly develop the skill sets so that the countries that are cooperative with us develop the capacity to develop their own real estate, which they don't have.
CT: With what you know now, what might you have done differently in Iraq?
DR: I don't think I would have called it the war on terror. I don't mean to be critical of those who have. Certainly, I have used the phrase frequently.Why do I say that? Because the word 'war' conjures up World War II more than it does the Cold War. It creates a level of expectation of victory and an ending within 30 or 60 minutes of a soap opera. It isn't going to happen that way. Furthermore, it is not a 'war on terror.' Terror is a weapon of choice for extremists who are trying to destabilize regimes and (through) a small group of clerics, impose their dark vision on all the people they can control. So 'war on terror' is a problem for me.
I've worked to reduce the extent to which that (label) is used and increased the extent to which we understand it more as a long war, or a struggle, or a conflict, not against terrorism, but against a relatively small number of terribly dangerous and violent extremists. I say violent extremists because an extremist who goes off in a closet is extreme, but he's not bothering people. An extremist who has those views and insists on imposing them on free people strikes at the heart of who free people are. There are people who want to be able to get up in the morning and go where they want, do what they want and that is exactly the opposite of the vision of violent extremists.
People who argue for more troops are often thinking World War II and the Weinberger Doctrine, which is valid in a conflict between armies, navies and air forces. The problem with it, in the context of a struggle against extremists, is that the greater your presence, the more it plays into extremist lies that you're there to take their oil, to occupy their nation,stay and not leave; that you're against Islam, as opposed to being against violent extremists.
People who argue for more, more, more, as I would in a conventional conflict, fail to recognize that it can have exactly the opposite effect. It can increase recruiting for extremists. It can increase financing for extremists. It can make more persuasive the lies of the extremists that we are there for the oil and water and want to take over their country. There is no guidebook, no map that says to Gen. Abizaid or Gen. Casey what they should recommend to the secretary of defense or the president as to numbers. It is a fact, whether or not it flies in the face of the popular media, that the level of forces we have had going into Iraq, and every month thereafter, are the number of troops the commanding generals have recommended. I have not increased them or decreased them over the objections of any general who is in a position of authority with respect to that decision.
Is it the right number? I don't know. Do I have a heckuva lot of confidence in those two folks? Yes. Do I think it's probably right? You bet, or I would have overruled it, or made a different recommendation to the president. But they have to walk that line; they have to find that balance.
There are two centers of gravity. One is in Iraq and the region; the other is here. The more troops you have, the greater the risk that you will be seen as an occupier and that you will feed an insurgency. The more troops you have - particularly American troops, who are so darn good at what they do, the more they will do things and the more dependent the Iraqis will become and the less independent they will become. If there's a ditch to be dug, an American does not want to sit down and teach an Iraqi how to dig the ditch. He'll go dig the dad burn ditch. But that is not what the task is.The task is to get the Iraqis to dig the ditches.
On the one hand, you don't want to feed the insurgency and on the other you don't want to create dependency. So at some point, you've got to take your hand off the bicycle seat. You've got the bicycle going down the street.You're pushing and holding it up, and you go from four fingers, to threefingers, to two and you know if you let go they might fall. You also know if you don't let go, you'll end up with a 40-year-old who can't ride a bike. Now that's not a happy prospect.
Simultaneously, you have the problem here at home. The more troops you have there, the more force protection you need, the more food you need, the more water you need, the more convoys you need, the more airplanes you need, the more people get killed, the more targets there are. If part of the center of gravity is back here in the United States and they constantly see more Americans getting killed, they ask, 'Where are the victories?' 'Where's the land warfare victory?' 'Where's the sea victory?' 'Where's the air victory?''Where's the body count?' 'How many of these people are we killing?' 'How many are we capturing?' 'How do we know if we're winning or losing?' The more people you put in, the more you're going to get killed.
The argument has been unimpressive, not terribly thoughtful (or) multidimensional and a bit narrow in this regard. Do I know that the right number is there? No. Do I think it is? Yes. Is there anyone who is smart enough to prove it is or isn't? No.
CT: Where are we on missile defense? We have rogue nations like North Korea and now Iraq threatening with possible nuclear missiles.
DR: When we came in (2001), the president wanted to proceed with missile defense. Even the proponents didn't agree with each other. Some wanted land,some wanted sea. And the opponents were viscerally against it. It was called national missile defense so our allies were against it. To the extent we were successful in defending ourselves, they felt they would no longer be protected. So we had many meetings. We ended up calling it missile defense and not national missile defense and our goal was not to separate ourselves from our allies and friends.
Second, it meant the concept of a perfect shield, which is the way President Reagan's proposals were characterized by people who wanted to be dismissive. We decided to say that the reality is that this was in an early stage. We wanted to do the developmental work to see what was possible and what made sense and what kinds of capabilities might be developed. That required getting out of the ballistic missile treaty, which the president stepped up and did, to his great credit. That permitted us to do the necessary research and development. We have been proceeding to do that.
I've always believed the way you get something is not by sitting around trying to develop it full blown before you put it out there, but you test it, use it, play with it, evolve it, and that's what we've been doing. We have evolved to the point where we have an initial missile capability to shoot down a missile from a rogue state. We've not had to do it yet, but we are prepared to. Each month that goes by, additional elements add to that capability; whether it's an additional radar here, or a sensor there, an additional interceptor, or a ship that can help triangulate and add information, or whether it's the development of information about the capabilities of others- all of that adds to a growing body of knowledge that gives us increasing confidence we will continue to evolve this capability at a pace we believe is appropriate to the threat.
You'd like things faster, I suppose, but the North Koreans put that Taepodong-2 (missile) on there and it didn't work. What we have to do is recognize there is a threat to our country and there will be a growing threat to our country and we have to invest and evolve this capability, as we have been doing. We're now discussing things with European countries as to ways we could add radars and interceptors and various sensors that would improve the capability to intercept an Iranian rogue missile.
CT: What are you most proud of in this, your latest, service in Washington and what is your biggest disappointment?
(Rumsfeld's aide handed me a stack of papers, in which Rumsfeld outlined his career high points, which included the liberation of 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq, which led to elections in Afghanistan and Iraq,capturing, killing the senior leadership of America's enemies, the shaping of forces for asymmetric warfare and humanitarian efforts, such as assistance for victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the modernization offorces, organizational transformation, and moving toward a more agile institution.)
DR: We've achieved a number of accomplishments and a number of initiatives.We face risks down the road from things like cyber attacks, given our high degree of vulnerability. Given our free way of life, we face risks from chemical, biological as well as nuclear devices.
CT: Biggest disappointment?
DR: It's the inability to help the free people of the world to understand that this new century and the struggle we're engaged in is real, is terribly dangerous to their safety and regrettably, it is not going to be as easily seen in terms of pitched battles.
CT: Will it take another 9/11 to make people wake up?
DR: There are people who have written that this administration is a victim of its success, due to the fact that there hasn't been another attack inside the United States. I remember shortly after Sept. 11, I met with the Sultan of Oman in a tent. It must have been 150 degrees. We were perspiring through every piece of clothing we had on. He said this terrible thing that's happened might be a blessing in disguise. It may be the thing that will wakeup the world to the danger these extremists pose, before those people get their hands on chemical, or biological or nuclear weapons where they could kill many multiples of what they were able to kill on Sept. 11.
This was a man sitting in a tent in the desert with that perspective and understanding of the dangers of extremists. It did for a short while, but then that threat diminished in their minds, whereas it not only has not diminished in reality, it has grown because of the advances in technologies. Look at the Johns Hopkins exercise with small pox called Dark Winter. It was put in three airports in America. Something between 800,000 and 1 million people 'died' in some number of months, or a year, from a disease people are no longer vaccinated against. So there are things that can be done. There's a tendency for a lot of people to be dismissive of this and to ridicule it.
Churchill's phrase about the gathering storm - there was a storm gathering, but there were people in Europe who didn't believe it and who didn't take the periodic storm clouds and the squalls as a real threat. They thought they were transitory and, of course, paid an enormous penalty in treasure and life for their failure to understand the nature of that threat. I worry we are in a gathering storm and we do not, as a society, accept it. Many of the elites of our society, the key opinion leaders, are unwilling or unable to accept what an awful lot of people believe to be the case. The penalty for being wrong can be enormous.
CT: Gen. MacArthur said, 'old soldiers never die, they just fade away.' What about old secretaries of defense? A book?
DR: I don't know. I haven't given any thought to it. There are a lot ofpeople who think I should write a book and I may very well. Life's been good and we feel very, very fortunate to have been able to be here and to be involved in something as important as this. Its' been an enormously challenging time for the country. I feel so fortunate to have had this very intimate relationship with these amazing people in uniform - the young men and women who volunteer - who represent the best led, the best equipped, the best trained, the most capable military in the world. They're motivated. They're proud. The people who are dismissive of them don't understand what's going on in our society.
These are terrific people and they are doing a superb job. The fact that it's tough; the fact that it's long; the fact that it's hard; the fact that it can be ugly at times should take nothing away from what they're doing.They're doing everything a military can do.
Health care for Iraqis and Afghanis and prisons for criminals is not the job of the military, all of those things are the tasks of other elements of our government and coalition partners and they take time. I read where someone was saying this is longer than World War II. Germany didn't even have a government until 1949, as I recall. And you were dealing with a very different environment in Western Europe than you are here. So the progresst hat's been made in these countries, when the uniform personnel look back five, 10 or 15 years from now, they're going to know that they helped liberate 50 million people. That is a big thing. It is historic. They're going to know they've given these folks an opportunity to succeed in an environment that is not a repressive political system, but a free political system.
Is it easy to get from where they were to that? No, it's hard. It's darn hard. But is it worth it? You bet. People said the Japanese could never have a democracy. It didn't fit their culture, they said. Well, the Japanese are doing pretty well with the second biggest economy on Earth. I feel these folks can be darn proud of what they've done and what they're doing. Fortunately, the history won't be written by the local reporters who are looking for bad news to report because it's newsworthy. It will be written by history over time and with perspective.