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Stopping the Sleeping Sickness: Rumsfeld Before The American Legion

Wednesday, August 30, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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The Secretary of Defense delivered a speech yesterday that was as blunt as any given by any senior official since the beginning of the war.  Reading it against the near total refusal of the MSM to report seriously on the attacks in San Francisco yesterday makes its message even more compelling. (The killer didn’t make the front page of the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, or the Boston Globe.  Just another terrible case of road rage that happened to start out 20 miles from San Francisco and end up taking out two pedestrians in front of the Jewish Center and 12 more in an area traditionally considered a Jewish neighborhood.)

Rumsfeld and others are attempting to prevent the country from slipping into a sort of historical coma, one which will allow the country to avoid confronting the world in which we live, and one in which certain very unpleasant events –bombings, rampages, plots– would not register.  Thus a sharp drop in SAT scores and John Mark Carr get a massive amount of attention, but even the possibility of another terrorist attack gets waved away and the incredible text of the letter from Ahmadinejad to Chancellor Merkel is not reported on except in blogs.

The exaltation of the trivial and resolute refusal to focus on the menace to the West and its sudden manifestations in the homeland –Seattle, UNC, the El Al counter on 7/4/02. and yesterday’s rampage– is so amazing that were it not so absolutely dangerous it might be fascinating.  But it is very dangerous indeed because the enemy seems to understand that nothing he says or does registers much less provokes reaaction.  After all, we have issued a visa to Ayatollah Khatemi even though his country is a rogue regime systematically calling for genocide and arming terrorists around the globe.While a case could be made that he must be allowed to travel to and from the UN, how is it that he is being allowed to come to Washington, and who invited him to speak at the Washington National Cathedral four days prior to the fifth anniversary of the attacks?  It was from the National Cathedral that the national day of prayer and grievance proceeded five years ago, and the State Department does not understand how it might be unacceptable to allow the former leader of the world’s greatest sponsor of terror  —and current Chairman of the Central Council of the Militant Clerics League— to tread there at any time, much less in September? This decision makes me angry.  How does it affect the families of the victims of terror, or the survivors of lost and wounded in the war?

Iran is supplying the killers of our troops in Iraq, and someone invited its former leader to the National Cathedral?  Someone in the State Department said “Fine by us?”  This is madness.  And suicidal madness.  How the jihadists must laugh and celebrate our idiocy.

We have seen this sort of collective denial before, and not just in Great Britain in the ’30s, but also in our government in the ’90s.  (This denial is presented in ABC’s “The Path to 9/11” on the nights of 9/10 and 9/11.) Rumsfeld knows what is happening, and yesterday’s speech was another attempt to arrest the spread of the sleeping sickness engulfing many Americans.  We have to hope that it is simply deep within the MSM and the bureaucratic elites, and not among ordinary Americans.

The text of Secretary Rumsfeld’s speech is here.  Key excerpts:

There was a strange innocence in views of the world. Someone recently recalled one U.S. Senator’s reaction in September 1939, upon hearing that Hitler had invaded Poland to start World War II. He exclaimed:

“Lord, if only I could have talked with Hitler, all this might have been avoided.”

Think of that!

I recount this history because once again we face the same kind of challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism. Today, another enemy — a different kind of enemy — has also made clear its intentions — in places like New York, Washington, D.C., Bali, London, Madrid, and Moscow. But it is apparent that many have still not learned history’s lessons.

We need to face the following questions:

  • With the growing lethality and availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased?
  • Can we really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists?
  • Can we truly afford the luxury of pretending that the threats today are simply “law enforcement
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