TCS Daily


Thoughts on Terrorism

By Donald Rumsfeld - September 21, 2001 12:00 AM

September 19, 2001 3:13 PM

FROM: Donald Rumsfeld

SUBJECT: Thoughts on Terrorism

  1. Terrorist Attack. The September 11th terrorist attack on the U.S. was carefully planned. There may well be more attack plans in place, and we must recognize that. It is likely that the terrorists planned not only the September 11th attack and future attacks, but that they planned how they would hide and what evidence they wished to leave behind for us to find to confuse our search. Therefore, it will take a sustained effort to root them out.

  2. Expectations. The world needs to have realistic expectations. This campaign is a marathon, not a sprint. No terrorist or terrorist network, such as the Al-Qaida network, is going to be conclusively dealt with by cruise missles or bombers. We recognize that it will take time and pressure on the countries that harbor these people for the foes of terrorism to be successful. Therefore, the fact that the first, second or third wave of our efforts does not produce specific people should not come as a surprise. We are patient and determined

  3. Worldwide Support. The legitimacy of our actions does not depend on how many countries support us. More nearly the opposite is true: the legitimacy of other countries' opinions should be judged by their attitude toward this systematic, uncivilized assault on a free way of life.

  4. Coalitions. The coalitions that are being fashioned will not be fixed; rather, they will change and evolve. While most countries are concerned about terrorism, and properly so, each country has a somewhat different perspective and different relationships, views and concerns. It should not be surprising that some countries will be supportive of some activities in which the US is engaged, while other countries will not. Which group any country falls into will depend on the nature and location of the activity. We recognize that some countries will have to conceal or downplay their cooperation with us. That needs to be understood and accepted.

  5. Fear. We understand that people have fears--fear for themselves, their families and their governments. Therefore, some will be reluctant to join an effort against terrorism or at least some aspects of our efforts. Terrorists terrorize people. We accept that fact. However, we need people's help and any information they can provide that will assist us. A number of countries are helping quietly and we appreciate that. Indeed, we ask people across the globe to provide us any information they have that can help in rooting out terrorists and their networks.

  6. Against Terrorism, Not the People. We are after terrorists and the regimes that support them. This is not a war against the people of any country. The regimes that support terrorism terrorize their own people as well. We need to enlist all civilized people to oppose terrorism, and we need to make it safe for them to do so.

  7. Not Against Islam. This is not a war against Islam or any other religion. The Al-Qaida terrorists are extremists whose views are antithetical to those of most Muslims. Their actions threaten the interests of the world's Muslims and are aimed in part at preventing Muslim people from engaging the rest of the world. There are millions of Muslims around the world who we expect to become allies in this struggle.

  8. Secondary Effects. Finally, there will be secondary effects. We recognize that as we continue to go after terrorism, our activities will have effects in a number of countries. We have to accept that, given the importance of the cause. As a result, relationships and alliances will likely be rearranged over the coming years.

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