Now that retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste has joined the carping chorus calling for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to resign, I thought it would be instructive to cite his words, and those of Rumsfeld, when the SECDEF visited the 1st ID, then commanded by MG Batiste, at Tikrit, Iraq on Dec. 24, 2004. This is from the transcript of that visit:
MajGen. Batiste: It is an honor to welcome to the 1st Infantry Division our country's 23rd Secretary of Defense, The Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld. This is a man with the courage and the conviction to win the war on terrorism. He was also the 13th secretary of defense, the White House chief of staff, the U.S. ambassador to NATO, a U.S. congressman, and the chief executive officer of two Fortune 500 companies. Soldiers of Task Force Danger please join me in a warm welcome for our secretary of defense.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Thank you very much. [Laughs] Thank you. Thank you very, very much. And General, thank you for those kind words. Kind of makes me sound like I can't hold a job. [Laughter] I first simply want to say that the reason I'm here is to have a chance to look you in the eye. I hope to have a chance to shake your hands and tell you how much I appreciate what you do for our country, how much your country appreciates what you do. And what you are doing is enormously important. It is important to this country, to be sure, but it's important to this region and it's important to the world.
I think about the lives of the people here. We just flew down from Mosul and you fly over this country in a helicopter and you look at the water and you look at the oil, you look at the wealth, you look at the opportunity and you think that this is a country that the Iraqi people have every opportunity in the world to make a great country. And the task we have is not to make a great country for them, but to create an environment where they can do that for themselves. And I know that you are making a difference in their lives, you're making a difference in the lives of the people of home because you're here on the front lines, defending our country and defending free people from the extremists who are determined to turn this country back to a dark place."
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