WaPo, August 14, 2005
"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."
Press Briefing, August 9, 2002:
One is, the Soviet Union was a nuclear power, as were we, and we developed a way to deter each other and dissuade each other from -- we persuaded the Soviet Union that they could not endlessly expand their empire by absorbing other countries.
Lehrer News Hour, PBS, September 18, 2002:
And as one looks at the world and sees this new security environment and sees the nexus between weapons of mass destruction, terrorist states and terrorist networks and reflects on last September 11, reflects on our vulnerability as free people and how many people can come into our country and do things in our country and how available today biological weapons and chemical weapons and indeed elements of nuclear weapons are today, what one would say is that if we want to live in a more peaceful world, if we want to avoid that kind of a catastrophe, our country has to recognize that new security and recognize that absorbing
that blow, waiting for it and absorbing
it and then having the investigation afterward is not a preferred option.
[. . .]
If you were talking about a conventional capability your standard of evidence would be one thing. You say well, we can absorb that. If you're talking about an unconventional capability, one has to be very careful about saying you're going to absorb it.
DefenseLINK News, September 27, 2002:
"How do you defend yourself against a terrorist?" [he] asked rhetorically. "Do you absorb
the attack and then decide to do something about it?"
He said in the past, with conventional weapons, countries could afford to absorb a blow and lose hundreds or thousands of people. "Today, the question people are debating ... is how do you feel about absorbing a blow with a weapon of mass destruction, and it's not hundreds or thousands of people (killed), but it's tens of thousands?" he asked.
Interview with NBC affiliate WXIA, Atlanta, GA, September 27, 2002:
That different circumstance it seems to me forces us to think about the meaning of war. How does one defend itself against a terrorist? Do you absorb
the attack and then decide to do something about it? What about the historic concept of anticipatory self defense? When one sees a threat developing to do something to deal with that? Preventive action.
[. . .]
Today the question people are debating properly is how do you feel about absorbing a blow that is from a weapon of mass destruction and it's not 100 people or 1,000 people but it's tens of thousands of people?
Press Briefing, November 13, 2003:
What hasn't evolved is our desire to transfer sovereignty to the Iraqi people and security responsibilities to the Iraqi people at a pace that they're comfortable with and capable of absorbing those responsibilities for themselves.
Testimony before the 9-11 Commission, March 23, 2004 (pdf):
Terrorism is a form of warfare, and must be treated as such. As with other forms of conflict, weakness invited aggression. Simply standing in a defensive position, absorbing blows, is not enough. Terrorism must be deterred.
The person speaking in each of these quotes is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
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