Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

General Pace Refused To Quit Voluntarily

On the heels of Harry Reid's stupid and classless comments yesterday comes word that General Pace did not want to quit on the troops and refused to step down voluntarily despite warnings that his nomination would have been a contentious one were he renominated:

In his first public comments on the Bush administration's surprise decision to replace him as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace disclosed that he had turned down an offer to voluntarily retire rather than be forced out.

To quit in wartime, he said, would be letting down the troops.

Pace, responding to a question from the audience after he spoke at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., on Thursday evening, said he first heard that his expected nomination for a second two-year term was in jeopardy in mid-May. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on June 8 announced Pace was being replaced.
"One thing that was discussed was whether or not I should just voluntarily retire and take the issue off the table," Pace said, according to a transcript released Friday by his office at the Pentagon

"I said I could not do that for one very fundamental reason," which is that no soldier or Marine in Iraq
should "think — ever — that his chairman, whoever that person is, could have stayed in the battle and voluntarily walked off the battlefield.

"That is unacceptable as a leadership thing, in my mind," he added.

Pace, whose current term ends Oct. 1, said he intended to remain on the job until then. Navy Adm. Michael Mullen has been announced as President Bush's
choice to succeed Pace, who is the first Marine ever to hold the military's top post.

The decision to drop Pace has fed the political debate in Washington over the Iraq war. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
caused a stir when he said Pace had failed in his job of providing Congress a candid assessment on the war. Democrats typically have shied from stinging comments about military officers, instead focusing criticism on Bush and administration policies in Iraq.

Asked for comment on Reid's statement, a spokeswoman for Pace, Marine Col. Katie Haddock, said Pace "is focused on his duties as chairman and is not going to respond to press reports on who's saying what. He will let 40 years of service speak for itself."

A Vietnam veteran, Pace indicated in his Norfolk comments that his experience in that war colored his decision not to quit voluntarily.

"The other piece for me personally was that some 40 years ago I left some guys on the battlefield in Vietnam who lost their lives following 2nd Lt. Pace," he said. "And I promised myself then that I will serve this country until I was no longer needed — that it's not my decision. I need to be told that I'm done."

"I've been told I'm done." ...

"He brought me in the office and sat me down and said `Pete, this is what's happening. I want to re-nominate you. I want you to know that this is what I'm beginning to hear, this is what I'm going to go do, this is how I'm going to go do it.'"

"He went out and did exactly what he said on television, and exactly what he's been saying in his interviews, which is he went out and pulsed various members of Congress and he heard back from them the things that he said that he heard," Pace said.

At that point, Pace said, he assured Gates that he was willing to go through even a contentious confirmation process.

Contrast the professional demeanor and attitude of General Pace to that of Harry Reid. In my opinion, the wrong man is leaving his service to this nation, and the wrong man is sticking around. It is also telling that General Pace refused to fire back at Harry Reid, but the majority of that particular decisions lies in the fact that he cannot speak out. It is not permitted int he military. But his record does speak for itself, and that is what should be sticking in Harry Reid's craw today.



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