By Jim Garamone
Nov. 9, 2006 – To fight the war on terror the United States will need the perseverance its citizens demonstrated during the Cold War, not the complete national mobilization of World War II, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today. Rumsfeld spoke at the Landon Lecture series at Kansas State University, in Manhattan, Kan. "Like the Cold War, this era finds America and our allies in a struggle against an ideology of global reach," the secretary said. "And like the Cold War, this era requires us to adapt and adjust our strategies, our way of thinking and our institutions."
Rumsfeld said the war on terror is not going to be a short-duration, high-intensity conflict like World War II. Rather, it is more like the Cold War, where the country did not mobilize, but did demonstrate the perseverance to prevail over 50 years. "We did it through successive administrations of both political parties, not just in our country but in the democratic capitals of Western Europe," he said. "And it was a very different experience."
Government officials need to present the case to the American people and explain to them what's at stake, the secretary said. "Every year that goes by, there is a greater and greater likelihood that weapons of mass destruction are going to end up in more and more hands," he said.
North Korea detonated a nuclear device, and Iran is trying to build one. "You see what Iran did by way of providing weapons to the Hezbollah, to a non-state entity," Rumsfeld said. "And you look down the road, and other countries are going to say, 'Well, if Iran and North Korea are developing nuclear weapons, maybe we need to do that.'"
He said it is only a matter of time before these weapons will be in the hands of non-state entities. Deterrence, which served the West so well in the Cold War, will not work against networks that have no real estate to defend, no industrial base and "no address where you can go after them."
The world is moving to that scenario, he said, and the civilized countries must understand the threat and take steps to counter these threats. "We did it during the Cold War," he said. "I don't have any doubt, at all, that we're going to be capable of doing it during this long struggle that we face against violent extremists."