Pace Defines ‘Winning’ in War on Terror
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2006 Defining “winning” is important to the war on terror, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said at a news conference today.
The war on terror is not going to end as World War II did -- with an instrument of surrender signed on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace said winning in this war on terrorism will be determined by conditions, not a signature on a piece of paper. “Winning is having security in the countries we're trying to help that allows for those governments to function and for their people to function,” he said.
He used Washington, D.C., as an example. “Washington, D.C., has crime, but it has a police force that is able to keep that crime below a level at which the normal citizens can go about their daily jobs and the government can function,” he said. “That's what you're looking for on the war on terrorism, whether it be Iraq, Afghanistan or anyplace else.”
There is going to be terrorism for the foreseeable future, Pace said. But the United States and its allies must band together “to provide enough security, enough good governance, and enough economy to allow the citizens and the governments to function and not have terrorism interrupt that.”
Pace said military leaders constantly review the status of U.S. and Iraqi forces. He said that Multinational Force Iraq Commander Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr.’s assessment that the coalition will turn over most of the security burden in Iraq to Iraqi security forces in 12 to 18 months is about right.
The Iraqi move to embrace benchmarks in the way forward in the country will be helpful also, Pace said and added that good discussions are taking place about what benchmarks are needed for progress in security, governance and the economy.
Pace does not want the Iraqi government to set a particular date for these benchmarks. “If you say the 13th of a particular month is a date certain, that puts you into a very, very tight window, and it actually gives your enemies the opportunity to focus all their energies on making it so it's not the 13th, it's the 14th or the 17th or whatever it is,” he said. “So having a very precise date, I think, is not useful, either from the standpoint of forcing yourself to do something too soon or from giving your enemies too much information.”
Pace favors a window for an accomplishment. A window “where you commit to your citizens that you will either have attained these goals or you'll explain why you haven't attained them, I think is a very good thing to do,” he said.