The assertion in a recent article (9/17, Books, “Who’s to blame for the war”), that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld “accused Iraq war critics of suffering ‘moral or intellectual confusion’.” in his remarks to the American Legion National Convention, is inaccurate.
The secretary warned that:
“In any long struggle or long war, any kind of moral or intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can weaken the ability of free societies to persevere.”
He did not equate this notion with critics of the administration. In fact, the secretary never mentioned any critics of the Iraq war in his remarks. This mischaracterization has been subsequently corrected by other major newspapers, such as The New York Times. We ask for a correction in your newspaper as well.
The secretary’s remarks were an effort to remind people of the similarities between past and current periods in U.S. history, so that a mentality of dismissing real and gathering threats while focusing nearly exclusively on American imperfections does not undermine our nation’s ability to prevail in what will be a long and difficult struggle against violent extremists.
We invite your readers to read the full text of the secretary’s remarks at www.defenselink.mil/speeches.
Assistant secretary of defense for public affairs