Information Important as Bullets Against Terror, Chairman Says
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2005 Information is as important in the global war on terrorism as bullets and bombs, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Oct. 24.
In addition to killing or capturing terrorists, the United States is aiming to stop people from wanting to join extremist groups, Marine Gen. Peter Pace said. "What we're trying to do is influence others to understand that these thugs, these terrorists, are not out for anyone's good interest," he said to interviewer Jed Babbin on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.
Pace said people must understand that these terror groups do not have a positive message. "What they want to do is subjugate people, the general said. "And in that kind of a war, where they can lie and we will not and should not, information and how it is passed and how people absorb it is critical.
"We need to make sure we take every opportunity to inform folks about what we're trying to do and how we're trying to do it," he said.
Actions also must be consistent with words, the general said. "The way our forces execute things on the ground, it needs to be consistent, precise, balanced," he said. "Whether we are saying it or doing it, the message is the same, which is: 'We are against terrorists,' and, 'We are for the Iraqi and Afghan people.'"
Pace spoke about the progress the Iraqi security forces have made. The Iraqi armed forces and police "are doing better in all categories," he said, adding, "And I don't mean to put a great, big smiley face on it."
The Iraqis are making these strides in the face of an insurgency and under attack from foreign fighters, Pace said. "They are doing extremely well," he said. "They are learning."
There are now more than 200,000 trained and equipped members of the Iraqi military and police in about 115 battalions, Pace said. Coalition officials in Iraq rate about one-third of the battalions as "in the lead," with two-thirds listed as "fighting side-by-side" with coalition units, he said.
"The most recent election strengthens the community, strengthens the bonds and reinforces for their armed forces and their police that Iraq does have a future," he said. "What (the Iraqi security forces) are doing is providing an opportunity for their fellow citizens to live in freedom. That just gets stronger every day."