Myers Holds Final News Conference as Chairman
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2005 In his last news conference as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers today once again urged Americans to maintain their resolve and determination against terrorism. Myers will retire Sept. 30.
He also expressed his condolences to the families and friends of servicemembers killed or wounded in the war on terror. "I know these words may fall short of conveying the depth of pain and sacrifice that these families have endured, but it's a genuine and sincere attempt to try to recognize and remember those who have made such sacrifices for our country, such important sacrifices," he said.
Myers said the terrorists are determined to shake the will of Americans. They commit acts of violence as a way to influence American public opinion.
"They want to see us leave Iraq without completing the mission," Myers said. "The enemy knows very clearly they cannot defeat us militarily, so they rely on acts of terrorism to try to chip away at our resolve ... to win."
The best weapons in the war on terror "are patience and resolve, or, in one word -- our will," Myers said. "We simply cannot afford to lose the will to finish the job at hand. We have the people, we have the plans, and we have the leadership to see this to the end and to see victory."
After a 40-year military career, Myers said he is most proud of "the accomplishments of our military servicemembers: their determination, their dedication, their courage, and their professionalism. And I know General Pete Pace (his successor as chairman) feels exactly the same way."
Myers thanked Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for his service and leadership. "I treasure the candid and professional relationship that we've had over these years, and I value the opportunity to come to this room and stand beside you and try to tell the American people and the international community about their military, about our operations and about the war on terrorism," he said.
Myers was the first chairman in many years to regularly bring reporters with him when he traveled. He thanked the Pentagon press corps for its work. "In this war on terrorism, where there are no front lines, then accurate information is as important a part of the landscape as anything we do," he said. "Essentially, your words replace those front lines that we draw on a map in more traditional warfare. So you have a very important job, and I appreciate your daily efforts to getting the story right and to offering context that helps the audience understand the complex nature of this business that we're involved in."
Rumsfeld called Myers "a powerful presence" in DoD for the past six years -- two as vice chairman and four as chairman. "When the history of this time is written, an era of tragedy and turmoil and triumph, I believe it will be said of Dick Myers that he was one of the most consequential chairman of the Joint Chiefs in our history," Rumsfeld said.
"No chairman has been more deeply involved in more critical decisions involving our country and our security and certainly involving the men and women in uniform. At a time of historic challenges and opportunities, our country needed the best -- and America found it in Dick Myers, whose courage I've seen, whose counsel I will miss, and whose friendship I value."