Joint Chiefs Chairman Defines Victory in Iraq
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2005 The war on terror won't come to a dramatic end as many past wars have, but rather will require continued vigilance to keep terrorists at bay, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today at the National Defense University here.
The terror war won't have a "pinpoint" victory like in World War II, with a signing ceremony aboard the battleship Missouri and large-scale Victory in Europe and Victory in Japan celebrations, said Marine Gen. Peter Pace.
In this war, victory will be incremental and will need to be guarded "daily, weekly, monthly and yearly," the chairman said.
"We can't say we've won and get on to the next event," Pace said. "We can say we are winning, and we will stay at it because our children and our grandchildren deserve to live in the same kinds of freedom that you and I have enjoyed all of our lives."
In Iraq, which Pace and other senior military and U.S. officials call the front line of the terror war, solid progress is under way on the political, economic and security sectors, the chairman said.
As that progress continues, its success needs to be measured over the short, medium and long term, he said. Those benchmarks are described in the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq," which the White House released Nov. 30.
Over the short term, victory in Iraq can be measured by steady progress fighting terrorists, achieving political milestones, building democratic institutions and standing up security forces, Pace said.
Over the medium term, it's measured by Iraqis taking the lead in those efforts, Pace said. That means defeating terrorists and providing their own security, with a fully constitutional government in place, and continuing progress in achieving Iraq's economic potential.
"And in the long term, it is a free and peaceful Iraq, living at peace with its neighbors and no longer hospitable to terrorist acts," the chairman said.
On a global scale, victory in the terror war "is a suppression of terrorist incidents to a level below which all free nations can carry out the business of taking care of their citizens in the way that their citizens choose to be governed," he said.
"This is an 'over time' victory, it is not a pinpoint victory," the chairman said, noting that it will have to be safeguarded once achieved.
Pace said there's no question that events in Iraq are leading toward that victory. He cited political progress as Iraq prepares for its third election this year, on Dec. 15, to seat its new government. "That's incredible, when you think about it," he said.
Meanwhile, Iraq's economy is coming on line, with more than 30,000 new businesses now operating, he said. "They are smart people. They're well-educated. They've got resources," Pace said. "They have an economy that's ready and capable of creating wealth for their citizens."
On the security front, progress continues in training Iraq's security forces, something Pace called "a fundamental part of long-term success in Iraq and globally."
Iraq's security forces continue to grow in numbers and capability and to take on more responsibility for their own security, he said.
While a lot of work remains, Pace said the 34 coalition nations in Iraq "should take great pride in the enormous progress that has been made to date by the Iraqis."
This cooperation is critical in facing off against terrorists who he said ruthlessly murder innocent people, not only in Iraq, but also around the world.
"They murder children with bombs. They murdered tourists in Bali, children in Russia, folks waiting in line to vote," Pace said. The family of fugitive Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has taken out ads in Arab newspapers to denounce the carnage Zarqawi has formented in Iraq. "Even Zarqawi's family now recognizes what a murderer and thug he is, and they have disowned him," Pace said.
That's why, Pace said, "it's important for us to realize that there is no option other than victory."