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Jack Rice is a criminal defense trial lawyer who provides legal advice to those charged with crimes in Federal and Minnesota State courtrooms.


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Transcript of U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on The Jack Rice Show

Jack interviewed U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on The Jack Rice Show on March 28, 2006. While this was some months ago, it may still be helpful, for good and bad, to read his answers in a partial transcript because of recent developments on Iraq.

RICE: It's 12:50 on today's 830 WCCO. I'm very pleased to have with me the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining me, sir.

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Thank you very much, Jack Rice. I'm delighted to be with you.

RICE: I sure appreciate this. I just came back from Iraq with the help of the Department of Defense. You were very helpful in giving us a lot of access.

A lot of people are watching for obvious reasons, but at the same time some are afraid this is not a winnable war. More than 150 have died in the last two days. What would your response be to that?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: It is winnable. If you think about it, the Revolutionary War was thought by many people to not be winnable and they almost fired George Washington. Certainly the Civil War was thought to be not winnable. I was alive during the early days of World War II and we lost battle after battle after battle and people were wringing their hands and saying we're not going to be able to prevail.

The fact is; there isn't any way that the terrorist enemies can win a single battle against us. The real center of gravity of this war is not out on the battlefield, it's back here in Washington, D.C. because it's a test of wills. As have previous conflicts been tests of wills. It's going to take steadfastness and perseverance and a confidence that the goal is the right goal and that the work that those wonderful young men and women are doing out there is noble work. I don't have a doubt in my mind but that we're going to prevail.

The thought of turning that country, Iraq, back over to the terrorists and allowing it to be a haven, imagine what that part of the world would be like, what the lives of millions of people would be like.

RICE: Do the American people have the will to stand behind this? We've seen the numbers. I assume you've seen the numbers obviously. Do the American people have the ability and desire to continue on?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: I think they do. I think there are so many of them hearing from their friends overseas through e-mails, where they get a very accurate picture of what's taking place. You've just been over there; you've seen what's happening. Some 10 or 12 million people went out and voted and they risked being shot when they did it. And the terrorists tried to stop the election in January and they failed; they tried to stop the constitution in October and they failed; they tried to stop the election on December 15th and they failed. They're trying to stop the formation of a government now and they're going to fail at that. Their record is terrible.

If you read the press and listen to the television around here you'd assume that everything was just terrible, the whole country was in chaos. Well, it isn't in chaos. In about 15 out of the 18 provinces things are reasonably calm, and in a few of them including Baghdad, which is of course the biggest, they're not calm. They're difficult and challenging. But they're going to get a government formed and they're going to get on with their lives and they're going to eventually, over a period of time, successfully deal with this insurgency in my view.

RICE: It seems at the center point of the President's policy is democracy, but if we look at democracy in the Middle East right now we can take you to Palestine, we have Hamas, that's obviously a problem; you look at the growth of Hezbollah in Lebanon; you look at the growth of the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt; and now we're looking at the problems with establishing a unity government in Iraq. Don't all of these say that maybe we're going the wrong direction here?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Well you know there are people who think that. They said that about Japan back in the end of World War II. They said the Japanese people really aren't appropriate for democracy, they can't make it work. Here they are - the second largest economy on the face of the earth, an ally of ours and a cooperative friend.

They said it about Germany, after Nazi Germany did what they did. That really they're not the kind of people that are going to have a democracy. And yet Japan and Germany are two of our strong allies in the world.

So I think people who diminish the people in the Middle East by saying that they're not capable of functioning in a free system are going to be proven wrong over time. It isn't easy. They don't have any experience with democracy or politicking. They've been living under a vicious dictator who put hundreds of thousands of people into the mass graves when he killed them. So they don't have a lot of experience debating and discussing and doing it, but they're getting it done. They've crafted a constitution; they're going to form a government in the weeks ahead, and they're going to have an Iraqi system that won't be like ours, it will different, but it will be a whale of a lot better than the dictatorship that was there, and much less of a threat to anybody in the world.

RICE: We're talking with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld here on WCCO.

Mr. Secretary, you said this yesterday, that the U.S. is getting a poor grade in the global debate. Can you explain what you mean by that?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Sure. It's very difficult to compete with people who lie consistently. Bin laden and Zawahiri and Zarqawi have media committees and they sit down and they plan how they're going to manipulate the press, because they know in a free system the press is free and whatever lie they can come up with gets printed. Then we have to go out and figure out what the truth is and try to nail it down. There's no penalty for bin Laden and Zawahiri lying, but any time we say something that's inaccurate, because we go too fast or too quick, then there's a penalty for that. So we have to take time.