Over the next decades, a sentiment took root that contended that if only the growing threats that had begun to emerge in Europe and Asia could be appeased, then the carnage and destruction of then-recent memory of World War I might be avoided. It was a time when a certain amount of cynicism and moral confusion set in among the western democracies. When those who warned about a coming crisis the rise of fascism and Nazism were ridiculed and ignored.
Indeed, in the decades before World War II, a great many argued that the fascist threat was exaggerated or that it was someone else's problem. Some nations tried to negotiate a separate peace even as the enemy made its deadly ambitions crystal clear.
It was, as Churchill observed, a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last.
There was a strange innocence in views of the world. Someone recently recalled one U.S. Senator's reaction in September 1939, upon hearing that Hitler had invaded Poland to start World War II. He exclaimed:
"Lord, if only I could have talked with Hitler, all this might have been avoided.
Think of that!
And in every army, there are occasionally bad actors the ones who dominate the headlines today who don't live up to the standards of their oath and of our country.
But you also know that they are a small percentage of the hundreds of thousands of honorable men and women in all theaters in this struggle who are serving with humanity and decency in the face of constant provocation.
And that is important in this long war, where any kind of moral and intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can severely weaken the ability of free societies to persevere.
This is the AP quote:
In unusually explicit terms, Rumsfeld portrayed the administration's critics as suffering from "moral or intellectual confusion" about what threatens the nation's security and accused them of lacking the courage to fight back.
AP here was talking about "the moral or intellectual confusion" but you don't get the whole picture by just derviving what Rummy said. It is a long war and we have to know who is Wrong and who is Right. Our free society is fighting the Good Vs. Evil and we can't appease the Evil because it will come bite us in the foot. We must win over the evil with Victory. That is what Rummy said.
Great article by qando on what Rummy said and what AP wrote here.