DOD: AP ‘mischaracterized’ Rumsfeld’s speech in report
Stars and Stripes August 31, 2006
WASHINGTON — The Defense Department took the unusual step Wednesday of posting a statement saying an Associated Press story had “seriously mischaracterized” aspects of a speech made Tuesday by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
The AP had written that Rumsfeld had “likened critics of the U.S. war strategy to those who tried to appease the Nazis” and that Rumsfeld portrayed the administration’s critics as suffering from “moral and intellectual confusion” about what threatens the nation’s security.
The DOD asked the Associated Press for a correction.
The AP softened its story in later versions, saying that Rumsfeld “alluded to critics of the Bush administration’s war policies in terms associated with the failure to stop Nazism in the 1930s” and added that “[a]ides to Rumsfeld said later he was not accusing the administration’s critics of trying to appease the terrorists but was cautioning against a repeat of errors made in earlier eras.”
Rumsfeld spoke Tuesday to several thousand veterans at the American Legion’s national convention in Salt Lake City.
According to AP, he quoted Winston Churchill as observing that trying to accommodate Hitler was “a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last.”
“I recount this history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism,” Rumsfeld said.
“Can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?” he asked. “Can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America, not the enemy, is the real source of the world’s troubles?”