Americans must take a lesson from history and not believe that the terrorist threat has been exaggerated or will go away, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Wednesday.
The new terrorist enemy is, he said, "even more ruthless and more lethal - with no territory to defend, no treaties to honor, that measures progress in terms of decades, not days, and who seeks the world's most dangerous weapons. With this sort of enemy, Americans cannot afford - and indeed could not survive - another holiday from history."
In remarks prepared for delivery to students at the Air Force's war college at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Rumsfeld also acknowledged that the Iraq war, like other battles, "has not been a steady upward glide path. We have not been successful at predicting every conceivable tactic of the enemy." He has made similar concessions before.
His remarks came as sectarian violence continued to rage in Balad, north of Baghdad, prompting the US military to send troops there to back up the Iraqi Army.