What AP says Rumsfeld said:
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.
What Rumsfeld said:
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.
Wha . . . how . . . ? Rumsfeld didn't come close to saying what Burns claims he did. Burns simply cherry-picked (inaccurately) two similar phrases -- which Rumsfeld used to warn, first, against an inarguably destructive 1930s post-war mindset and, second, of the consequences of military misconduct -- and twisted it into an alleged accusation leveled disparagingly at administration critics.
It's a lie. It's the AP.
Most frightening of all: Forbes, CNN, ABC, and even FOX ran with it, unedited. As QandO so neatly puts it, "And you wonder how myths and memes get started?"
(h/t/ Power Line)