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Purple Hearts & Defense of Rumsfeld

Reader comment on item: Tempering Ambitions [in Iraq]

Submitted by linda (United States), Nov 11, 2006 at 22:39

A message to any enemies of America who may come upon this – you have no idea what you're getting yourself into. You may think the squabbling of political interests is the big story in America. (Maybe it is to the media that you mistakenly over emphasize.) Much more powerful is the story of our fighting forces and the goodness of the American people. (The public may have to wake up at some point, but the troops are well aware of what you are up to.) You will fail. I promise you.

The following comments were made by Lieutenant General R. Steven Whitcomb, Commanding General of the Third Army, U.S. Army Central, Coalition Forces Land Component Command out of Kuwait (who is in charge of all forces eventually going into Iraq) -- at the opening of the National Purple Heart Hall of Hope in New Windsor, NY on Nov. 10, 2006. Governor George Pataki and Sen. Hillary Clinton were among those present -- a story unto itself (the thousands were clearly appreciative of veteran-friendly Pataki, not so with Clinton, who evoked a Korean War gentleman to loudly proclaim, "What's she doing here? She couldn't care less about the military"). By the way, Gov. Pataki has a son who has recently entered the Marine Corps.

Lt. Gen. Whitcomb said in part: (notice the echoing of Donald Rumsfeld's correct assertion that this is a misunderstood, complex war that many do not understand):

"Once again our nation has called to duty its best, its brightest and certainly its bravest. This enemy is different today. He isn't the clearly defined enemy of the Cold War who was constrained by borders or who more or less followed international law or who maintained large structured armies, navies and air forces. He is faceless, nationless and is able to claim credit for success without ever having to face any responsibility for failure. The enemy hides behind regional, national and ethnic borders. He does not obey the laws of war or of humanity.

"This enemy knows he can't defeat us militarily on the battlefield, but he is smart and he is media savvy. He uses our media to intimidate and inspire. This enemy sees the U.S. population as the center of gravity. They want to fight us on the information battlefield in living rooms and newspapers across the world. He sees the will and resolve of the American people as the point of failure.

"But he underestimates us as many enemies in the past have. This is not a religious or cultural clash, although our extremist enemies find it useful to characterize it that way. And most importantly, this is an enemy that is true to his word. And we must read every sentence when he speaks...this is a victory over time, not a 10-point victory. There will be no surrender, no signing of a peace treaty on the deck of a battleship. Because the enemy has a vote, our national tactic must adapt and be flexible to fight this war.

"This war involves all of our elements of national power – diplomatic, information, military and economic – and the steadfastness of our allies. We have no option. But winning battles and wars comes at a cost. All things eerily at peace here today in this great field, a hallowed ground of history. But make no mistake – we are a nation at war.

"I know our troops will meet the challenge. And if our enemies could but see the heart and spirit of our Purple Heart recipients, they would quickly know that we will stop at nothing ‘till the mission is complete."

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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