Pace Discusses War on Terror on Veterans Day
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2005 If Americans demonstrate patience and the will to continue, "there is no way we can lose" the war on terror, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.
Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, discusses progress in the war on terror during interviews on television talk shows on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Photo by Maj. Jeff Becker, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Speaking on the network morning shows on Veterans Day, Marine Gen. Peter Pace also thanked America's veterans for their sacrifices. The chairman represented the 2.4 million Americans in uniform as he assured veterans that today's military would continue to pass on their gift of freedom.
Recent terrorist attacks in Jordan and Iraq are aimed directly at derailing the push for democracy in the Middle East, Pace said on CNN.
The insurgents and terrorists understand that the votes already cast in January and October and the upcoming government elections set for December are a threat to them, the chairman said.
"All the terrorists have is murder and hatred and fear. That's what they are trying to spread," he said. "If we maintain our patience and maintain our will and we stay focused along with other freedom-loving peoples around the world, there is every reason to be optimistic about the future."
The general said the United States had no option but to take the war to the terrorists. The United States "wasn't stirring up anything" when the attacks came in New York and Washington, he said. "This war was brought to us," the he said.
"You can fight it in Iraq, you can fight it in Afghanistan or we can fight it here at home," Pace said. "My choice is to fight it overseas."
Pace said he takes great pride in the fact that 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan can now make their own decisions.
The enemies in the war of terror have spelled out exactly what their goals are, Pace said. "They want to destroy our way of life," he said. "They are not blinking about that. They are looking us straight in the eye and they are writing it to us.
"We can choose not to believe that," he continued. "But that would be a foolish choice. This fight must be fought, and to fight it with our friends and allies around the world - wherever it needs to be fought - is what we're going to do."
The Iraqi military and police are key to success in the nation, he said, noting that he's optimistic about the progress the Iraqis are making in a short time.
When former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein fell, the coalition disbanded the Iraqi military. This left no trained and equipped Iraqi forces.
Pace acknowledged some initial confusion as the training effort began, but emphasized that it's all in the past. "We had some fits and starts early on, but clearly, for the last couple of years, we are on the right track as far as training the armed forces," he said.
Today the Iraqi security forces include 210,000 Iraqi soldiers and police. Iraq has one division headquarters, four brigades and 24 battalions, "in the field as we speak, controlling various parts of that country," Pace said. "I am very, very positive and optimistic about their capacity to take over responsibility for their own country."