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
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
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
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