U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says he cannot predict when the global war on terrorism will end, but he says it will end when enough countries provide their people with alternatives to radicalism. In a speech at the National Press Club in Washington Thursday, the secretary spoke about the war on terror.
Secretary Rumsfeld said governments must provide alternatives to radical Islamic education, and create what he called a "set of pressures" to reduce the attraction of such schools. He said that is part of the multi-nation effort that is needed to end the war on terrorism.
"It's not possible today to know precisely when it'll end or how it'll end, but the way it will end is not with a signing ceremony on the USS Missouri, as World War Two did. It will end because individual countries, collectively cooperating, will be successful in reducing the numbers of people that are attracted to terrorism," he said.
Secretary Rumsfeld said the war on terrorism will end gradually, as militancy is reduced around the world.
In the meantime, he pledged that the U.S. military will continue to fight terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. And he warned against complacency in the effort because, he said, terrorist groups are intent on attacking the United States, and have access to increasingly deadly weapons.
Secretary Rumsfeld also criticized past U.S. government decisions to cut off military relationships with important countries when they adopt policies the United States doesn't like.
"Any time a country does something we don't like, we cut off our relationships with them in terms of our military-to-military education and training programs and the like," he said. "And it has proven to have been unhelpful - for example, we severed our relationships with Pakistan some years back and we lost a generation of relationships."
The secretary also mentioned Indonesia, which recently had full military relations with the United States restored, after they were cut due to human rights violations in East Timor several years ago. Secretary Rumsfeld said such moves are counter-productive because the military-to-military relationships are important in helping build democratic societies and fighting terrorism.