Sunday, April 28, 2002

An Evil That Cannot Be Appeased

The Afghanistan theater has been the first one, but it won't be the last. It is a place where you are setting an example for how this battle has to be conducted, and there's no question but that Afghanistan is indeed a proving ground.

It's a momentous time. You have a momentous mission. You have been commissioned by history to play a key part. It's dangerous; there's no question. It's difficult and the American people know it and the people of the coalition countries know it. They know it because they see it on television. They know it because they see some of your comrades coming home dead and wounded.

The coalition, this coalition, stands on the front line between freedom and fear. You stand against an evil that cannot be appeased, it must not be ignored, and it certainly must be defeated.

You've done a magnificent job, each of you, and I am proud and I am grateful and I know that your families are proud and grateful. They worry about you. And they too sacrifice.

And when this war is won, and it will be won, you will be able to say that I fought with the coalition in Afghanistan against terrorism and you'll be remembered for it.

--Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, speaking to US and coalition forces in Bagram, Afghanistan