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Pace Confident Americans Will Grasp Nature of Terrorist Threat

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2006 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today expressed confidence that the American people will unite to defeat the terrorist threat once they see it for what it is.

At a Pentagon news conference, Marine Gen. Peter Pace said he is not “discouraged or disappointed” with the situation in Iraq and that the United States faces a long fight against an enemy that wants to destroy the American way of life.

The terrorist enemy has a 100-year plan, the chairman noted. “They've told us they want to go and establish a caliphate from Spain to Indonesia, and from there they want to attack the rest of the free world,” Pace said.

He said the terrorists have been at war with the United States since the late 1970s. Americans didn’t realize this until Sept. 11, 2001. “We're in this war primarily right now in Iraq and in Afghanistan, but when we are complete and successful in assisting the Iraqi government and in assisting the Afghan government, we are still … going to face decades of individuals and cells and groups that want to destroy our way of life,” he said.

The United States can handle this, the chairman said. “We as a nation have capacity to do whatever we need to do for the long haul to protect our children and our grandchildren. We've proved it against the Soviet Union,” he said.

Once Americans understood the nature of the Soviet threat, they worked together to provide the right resources and the determination to protect the country, Pace said, adding that it didn’t matter what party was in the White House.

He said the same will happen once Americans understand the nature of the enemy confronting the nation today. “I have great faith in the balance of the American people, and I take great comfort in knowing that as we are able to articulate what this threat is really about, that the American people will continue to stand side by side and behind us, and that we will be given the resources … to fight this war,” the chairman said.

“I am not looking forward to decades of having to be vigilant,” he said, “but I am looking forward to my grandkids living in the same United States that I grew up in.”

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