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Rumsfeld says US needs new agency to fight "war of ideas"
www.chinaview.cn 2003-10-25 00:28:30

  WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- The United States needs to communicate its messages more effectively in the war against terrorism and a new information agency would help fight a "war of ideas," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has suggested.

  "We are in a war of ideas, as well as a global war on terror," Rumsfeld said in an interview with The Washington Times published Friday. "And the ideas are important ... they need to be communicated in ways that are persuasive to the listeners."

  He made the remarks when asked to comment on a leaked memo he sent to top Pentagon officials last week. Questioning the progress in the US campaign against international terrorism, Rumsfeld referred three times in the memo to the danger from religious schools in the Islamic world.

  "The overwhelming majority of the people of all religions don't believe in terrorism," he said in the interview. "They don't believe in running around killing innocent men, women and children.  And we need more people standing up and saying that in the world, not just us."

  Rumsfeld said that creating a post for an undersecretary for intelligence in the Pentagon and merging agencies into the Homeland Security Department were bold steps, but more can be done.

  He suggested a "21st century information agency in the government" to help in the international battle of ideas, to limit the teaching of terrorism and extremism, and to provide better education.

  Last year, Rumsfeld was forced to close a clandestine "Office of Strategic Influence" in the Pentagon after wide criticism arose following newspaper reports that the office would issue false information abroad to influence public sentiment and policy makers in other countries.

  Rumsfeld, who wrote in the memo that the United States has not "yet made truly bold moves" in fighting al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups and is in for a "long, hard slog" in Iraq and Afghanistan, said that his memo was intended to "inject a sense of urgency" into top leadership.

  At a news briefing Thursday, Rumsfeld denied charges from critics that he and administration officials have put a good face on the situation in Iraq in public while offering a gloomy picture in private.

  "What we have done is we've put out a very straight forward, accurate, to the best of our ability, and balanced view of what we see happening, and what we believe to be the case," Rumsfeld said. Enditem 

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