NEWS TRANSCRIPT from the United States Department of Defense
DoD News Briefing
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
Friday, December 14, 2001
(Interview with Mark Thompson, Time Magazine)

Q: Thank you for setting this up. Sir, I'll make you a deal. You let us spend a day with you and we put you on the cover and we'll use a color picture. How's that?

Rumsfeld: (Laughter) You're very funny.

When I took this job I had a visit with the president shortly thereafter, and we talked about the situation that a lot of the people in the world had come to conclude that the United States was gun-shy. That we were risk adverse.

And that there had been a series of things that had led people to believe that, and that the cumulative effect of it was to weaken the deterrent effect of the U.S. threat, if they do things that are harmful to our country's interest, and that that was unhelpful to have that deterrent effect weakened, and that I wanted him to know and we discussed it and he and I concluded that whenever it occurred down the road that the United States was under some sort of a threat or attack, that the United States would be leaning forward, not back.

As people started worrying about the fact that we were on a track where the Soviets had been, or that some people in neighboring countries were characterizing it as being bogged down, and people in the press were characterizing it as a quagmire, the president was very firm and very stiff and said, Look, we've got a plan, it's a good plan, we've agreed to it, leave it in place," and General Franks encouraged him to do so, and that is exactly what happened.