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Senator Ted Kennedy last week:
After the hearing, Kennedy took to the Senate floor to press his point. ''It is time for Rumsfeld to take off his rose-colored glasses," Kennedy said. ''It is time to level with the American people instead of painting a rosy picture."
Citing some of Rumsfeld's assessments, Kennedy asked: ''What planet is he on? Perhaps he is still in the mission-accomplished world," a reference to the banner behind Bush in May 2003, when the president declared major combat operations had ended.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld talks to host Chris Wallace days later on Fox News Sunday
WALLACE: I want to turn to another aspect of this.Seems like some pretty candid comments - perhaps partly in response to those "what planet/rose colored glasses" accusations from a few days prior.
When we announced that you were going to be on the program, I got a phone call ? unsolicited phone call, from a gentleman who had been a veteran of Vietnam, wounded twice in Vietnam, whose son is now serving in Iraq. And he said that he never thought that this country would fight another Vietnam, meaning send our troops over there without enough strength to win, but he said ? this is his argument ? that that's exactly what's going on in Iraq, that we are fighting another Vietnam in the sense that we don't have enough force to win. And then he said, the problem ? and I'm going to quote him now ? is, he said, "Rumsfeld tried to fight this on the cheap."
WALLACE: What do you say to that patriotic but very concerned father?
Well, I think you thank him first for his service, and then thank him for the service of his son. And then point out that this is not a decision I make; this is a decision that's made by the military commanders. General Franks, General Abizaid, General Casey have decided what those numbers are. They've recommended them to me. I've recommended them to the president. I agree with them. I think they're right.
I can understand some people would say, "Oh, there ought to be more," or, "There ought to be less." General Abizaid and General Casey are absolutely convinced, and said so publicly, that they would worry if there were more U.S. forces there, because it would require more force protection, more support troops, more targets, a heavier footprint, a more intrusive occupation force that would further alienate Iraqi people from the coalition forces and what they're trying to do.
Second, the implication of the question was that we don't have enough to win against the insurgency. We're not going to win against the insurgency. The Iraqi people are going to win against the insurgency. That insurgency could go on for any number of years. Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years.
Coalition forces, foreign forces are not going to repress that insurgency. We're going to create an environment that the Iraqi people and the Iraqi security forces can win against that insurgency.
So, I regret that he feels that way. I am absolutely convinced that the general officers in charge of this, who've made those decisions, are correct.
If they came to us and said they needed more people, as they have, we've increased them. For the last election, when the violence went up, we increased them to 160,000. They're now down to 139,000. Why? Because the generals sent people home, and said they would prefer to have fewer people.
So how does the press report his comments? Here's one headline from the Seattle Times: Iraq peace may be 12 years away, Rumsfeld says
CNN was more optimistic: Rumsfeld: Insurgency could last decade
The people of Iraq will eventually defeat the insurgents - but other conflicts appear to be a no-win situation.