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Pace: U.S. Military Is 'Prepared To Deliver' Against Saddam

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2002 – The U.S. military is ready - if called upon -- to remove Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from power while continuing the fight against global terrorism, the nation's second-most-senior military officer said here today.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking on the global war on terrorism at a U.S. Department of State-sponsored lecture, cautioned his audience that President George W. Bush hasn't decided how to accomplish regime change in Iraq.

However, the four-star general emphasized, if military action against Iraq is authorized, the American public and Saddam should know "this President will do what he says he's going to do." The same is true even if Iraq threatens to employ weapons of mass destruction against U.S. troops or allies.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America, Iraq has increasingly come under the microscope of the United States and other freedom-loving nations of the world.

Iraq has steadfastly refused to disarm and jettison its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction programs -- something that country's government had promised to do a decade ago to end the Gulf War. Fed up with the Iraqi dictator, who kicked out U.N. weapons inspectors in 1998, Bush has decided that Saddam has to go.

In recent days Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other senior U.S. officials have declared Iraq has ties to Al Qaeda and is continuing to develop its WMD arsenal -- to include a nuclear program. As the U.S. Congress debates the pros and cons of using a military broom to sweep out Saddam, the U.N. is working to craft new resolutions to force the Iraqi dictator to give up his WMDs, or else.

In diplomacy, Pace noted, the use of the term "or else" when delivered to enemies to influence their behavior can have economic and other ramifications.

"Part of the 'or else' for enemies, is guys like me," Pace pointed out. Part of his job, the general noted, is preparing for possible military contingencies -- such as moving against and defeating Saddam and his forces.

"We think through what part of that 'or else' we have to deliver," Pace explained, "and we make sure that we're prepared to deliver it."

If called upon, Pace noted the U.S. military could simultaneously continue the campaign against global terrorists and go after Saddam's regime.

If Saddam is given an "or else" ultimatum, Pace said America's military "is prepared to deliver today, tomorrow, next week. That's where I focus my energies, so that the president can do what he wants to do if he gets to the point where he thinks military action might be the best course of action."

If the president decides to deploy U.S. troops, Pace said, "he has to have the confidence to know that when he says, 'Go do it,' we're going to do it for him.

"And, that's what we do, daily, for him and the secretary of defense," Pace concluded.

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