A man has his limits, and for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, they were reached at a town hall meeting at the Pentagon today. It came at the end of a week in which:
- Hugo Chavez infamously called the President of the United States a "devil."
- Iran's Ahmadinejad accused the United States of abusing its power and engaging in intimidation.
- A prominent member of our country's putatively loyal opposition professed to "understand" why these tinpot dictators would condemn our nation.
- A certain member of the morning media warned us not to be too quick to dismiss the insults.
A soldier asked the Secretary to define just who is the enemy. In professorial, avuncular fashion, Rumsfeld carefully described how a limited number of Muslim extremists have hijacked their faith and sought to impose their warped vision on their co-religionists. That others were seeking to regain power lost when the United States deposed dictatorial regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. And that still others are simply criminal elements.
But enough was finally enough for the Secretary. With an emphatic change of tone, he continued:
"But the idea that the reason that there are problems in the world is the United States is baloney. We are not what's wrong with the world."
The statement elicited a rousing ovation from the crowd.
Take that, Hugo, Mahmoud, Tom & Meredith!
Watch the video of Secretary Rumsfeld's remarks here [play in IE, not Firefox].