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Rumsfeld calls military 'sharp sword of freedom'

By Dave Adhicary
CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In a holiday message to members of the U.S. military, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld described the armed forces as "the sharp sword of freedom."

"You fight without complaint on foreign seas, in dangerous skies and on hostile lands," he told them.

Rumsfeld drew a comparison between the members of today's armed forces and those who served during earlier wars, such as World War II.

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"Like those heroes of that earlier era, you too stand against evil -- the shadowy evil of terrorism," Rumsfeld said. "And like them, you also will be victorious. Of that, there is no doubt."

He said the hearts and prayers of Americans are with them, according to his statement on the Pentagon's Web site.

In his holiday message to the troops, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Americans count the members of the armed forces among the blessings they have "rediscovered" since September 11.

"The important job you do has earned a special place in the hearts and minds of Americans," Myers told the troops. "They find strength in your courage and inspiration in your sacrifices."

Peace and freedom are under "such unprecedented attack," Rumsfeld told them. "We pray each day for your success."