Pace Explains War Dialogue in U.S. to Yokota Troops
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan, Aug. 19, 2007 Congress will continue to fund U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan even while debating the merits of combat in various countries, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told servicemembers here Aug. 16.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace assured servicemembers concerned about congressional funding for combat in Iraq and Afghanistan that Congress will continue to ensure that troops receive all the resources they need.
The military has been “funded by the Congress of the United States to do the job the nation sent us to do, even while the Congress debates whether or not they support that particular mission,” Pace said.
Pace went beyond that in answering the question. “The question becomes what is the dialogue in the United States really about? Some folks believe it’s about whether or not we’re going to participate in this war,” the general said. “That is not correct.”
The United States had been in the war on terror well before Sept. 11, 2001, he said. Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations declared war on the United States and vowed to destroy the U.S. way of life. “On 9-11 we got a wake-up call that we were in a war,” he said.
“We can have a dialogue right now, about Iraq for example, and we can decide whether we are going to fight in Iraq, but at the end of the day, leaving Iraq does not take you out of the war with terrorists,” Pace said.
The terrorists get a vote, Pace said -- al Qaeda has a hundred-year plan. “As long as the other guy is trying to kill us and change our way of life, we are in a war, and we don’t get the option of voting our way out of it,” the chairman said. “The dialogue going on right now is not whether we are in a war or not. We are. It’s about how are we going to fight this war. Where are we going to take our stand, and how are we going to take it?”
The chairman told the servicemembers that the discussion in Congress and in America at large is valuable to have. “But make no mistake about it,” he said. “We are going to fight this war someplace, and we’re going to have to prevail.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the American people, our Congress and everybody who loves our nation are going to prevail in the end,” he continued. “The question is where are we going to fight, how are we going to fight and how do we determine as a nation that this threat is the threat we believe it to be?”