"With the growing lethality and the increasing availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?"
There is no evidence that Mr. Rumsfeld's critics are trying to appease the vicious extremists. Mr. R does our nation a great disservice in suggesting that his political opponents, i.e. liberals, are sympathetic or aligned with the terrorists. Judging from the reaction towards those perceived to be liberals, Mr. R has brought our own country closer to civil war by promoting this false division.
"Can folks really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists?"
Again, who is advocating negotiating a separate peace with the terrorists-the suggestion that his opponents are taking this standpoint is simply ludicrous. It also blocks any kind of serious discussion about justified grievances of the Muslim world population, that terrorist are able to abuse for their own purposes. Without acknowledging these grievances, we do not have any credibility in dealing with moderate Muslim viewpoints, and partnering with Muslims to overcome the terrorist ideology and modernize their societies. The fact is, we cannot simply eliminate all the terrorists in the world, and we never will be able to!
"Can we afford the luxury of pretending that the threats today are simply law enforcement problems, like robbing a bank or stealing a car; rather than threats of a fundamentally different nature requiring fundamentally different approaches?"
Well, having effective law enforcement is a major improvement from the results that the present Bush policies have brought us. The recent London terror attacks were not foiled by military or security measures, but by old fashioned crime work. In fact, one could submit that without these capabilities, our hawkish foreign policy is utterly hapless and ineffective at protecting our soil.
It appears that the real threat Mr. R is acknowledging is a nuclear or other WMD strike against our country. However, the terrorists really have nothing to gain from such a massive debilitation of the U.S.A., materially. Tactically, our military aggression does not provide security against this threat either, while the bungling of the Iraq war has increased this threat by creating more justification and opportunities for terrorists.
Note that even the terrorists have not broken the law until they have broken the law. That is just the simple fact of democratic life. We have to learn to fight with one hand tied behind our backs and learn to accept this, because otherwise, there is no distinction between us and the terrorists.
"And can we really afford to return to the destructive view that America, not the enemy, but America, is the source of the world's troubles?"
What is deeply disturbing about this question is the the word 'return' suggesting that back when the liberals were in power, the prevailing view supported bashing Uncle Sam in a suicidal manner. What a heinous Orwellian construction! Basically, any critique of the powers that be in the Bush administration amounts to treason. This approach is suicidal for our nation, because it robs us of the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, after actually admitting them and analyzing them.
"And it's a time when Amnesty International refers to the military facility at Guantanamo Bay - which holds terrorists who have vowed to kill Americans and which is arguably the best run and most scrutinized detention facility in the history of warfare - "he gulag of our times." It's inexcusable."
Mr. R appears to have divine knowledge of what each internee at Guantanamo has previously vowed, despite the findings of his own prosecutors, who have documented cases of innocence among the detainees. And he uses the word 'scrutinized' almost as an allegation of wrongdoing, too much public knowledge appears a great danger to him.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Monday he is deeply troubled by the success of terrorist groups in "manipulating the media" to influence Western publics.
"What bothers me the most is how clever the enemy is," Rumsfeld said during a question-and-answer session with about 200 naval aviators.
"They are actively manipulating the media in this country" by, for example, falsely blaming US troops for civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.
"They can lie with impunity," he said, while US troops are held to a high standard of conduct.
That is precisely the point why they are terrorists and we are not. I feel a certain jealousy Mr. R is feeling for the terrorists. I think he wants exclusive rights to be able to lie with impunity and actively manipulate the media in this country. Unfortunately, what does not bother him is how unclever his policies have been, and their dismal results.
WE SHOULD DEMAND A SCORECARD OF RESULTS FROM MR. RUMSFELD AND HIS POLICIES TO BE EVALUATED IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN IMMEDIATELY!!! IF THIS LATEST VERBAGE DOES NOT CAUSE HIM TO RESIGN IN HUMILIATION, THEN WHAT DOES THAT SAY FOR OUR COUNTRY?