Rumsfeld Says Bush Critics Appease ‘Fascism’
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Defense Secretary Rumsfeld yesterday accused critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq and counterterrorism policies of trying to appease “a new type of fascism.”
In unusually explicit terms, Mr. Rumsfeld portrayed the administration’s critics as suffering from “moral or intellectual confusion” about what threatens the nation’s security and accused them of lacking the courage to fight back.
In remarks to several thousand veterans at the American Legion’s national convention, Mr. Rumsfeld recited what he called the lessons of history, including the failed efforts to appease the Adolf Hitler regime in the 1930s.
“I recount this history because, once again, we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism,” he said.
Mr. Rumsfeld spoke to the American Legion as part of a coordinated White House strategy, in advance of the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to take the offensive against administration critics at a time of doubt about the future of Iraq and growing calls to withdraw American troops.
Mr. Rumsfeld recalled recent terrorist attacks, from September 11 to bombings in Bali, London, and Madrid, and said it should be obvious to anyone that terrorists must be confronted.
“But some seem not to have learned history’s lessons,” he said, adding that American journalists have tended to emphasize the negative rather than the positive. He said that more press attention was given to American soldiers’ abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib than to the fact that Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith received the Medal of Honor.
“Can we truly afford to believe somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?” he asked.
“Those who know the truth need to speak out against these kinds of myths and lies and distortions being told about our troops and about our country,” he added.