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Media Stakeout by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and General Peter Pace Following a Briefing of Senate Members on Iraq. Location: The Capitol, Washington, D.C.

Presenters: Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace
March 01, 2007
             SEC. GATES: About half of the Senate was at the briefing. We offered to do these briefings once a month. We laid out the commitments the Iraqis made and that our government has made and progress against those goals or commitments and benchmarks, if you will. We got a lot of good questions and it was a good session.
          Q: The commander was relieved of his duties, but his replacement might have been to blame as well?
         SEC. GATES: We've had our independent group reviewing this. I've made it clear all along that these problems ... that action wasn't going to be limited to junior officers and NCOs and enlisted. I think the commanders have to be held accountable. My understanding at least from the Army's press release that the stand in is temporary. So I think we need somebody to deal with this. But I think certainly that everybody in the Army and certainly everybody at the Department of Defense understands accountability and that I don't have very much patience for people that don't step up to the plate in terms of addressing problems that are under their responsibillity. And that I would hold true going forward and in other venues as well.
         Q: Does the 45-day commitment hold?
         SEC. GATES: Yes. We affirmed the 45-day commitment. They are all on board and ready to go to work.

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