June 9, 2007
Back in July 2003, President Bush, in response to a question about stepped up attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, famously and defiantly declared, "Bring 'em on!" Oh, how that tune has changed.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates - using the old tactic of releasing controversial news just before the weekend in the hope of minimizing press coverage - announced Friday afternoon that "he will advise President Bush to replace Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (this fall), fearing that a contentious renomination hearing in the Senate would focus too heavily on six years of war."
Apparently, President Bush has accepted the advice.
So let me get this straight, and borrow a famous scene from the movie "Animal House." The Bush administration's old attitude toward mass-murdering tyrants and terrorists around the world has been akin to this: "Hussein. Dead. Bin Laden? He's a dead man. Kim Jung ll? AHMADINEJAD!!!"
But when it comes to standing up to pasty-faced Harry Reid and the Democrats in the Senate?
"I have decided that at this moment in our history, the nation, our men and women in uniform, and Gen. Pace himself would not be well-served by a divisive ordeal in selecting the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff," said Gates.
What a crock.
Pace was/is eminently qualified to run the nation's joint military operations. Which is not to say Pace's replacement isn't an eminently qualified military professional, as well. He is. But the success or failure of the U.S. effort in Iraq will ultimately be determined by what happens over the next year or so following the "surge." Why change horses midstream?
As CBS News reports, "Pace's departure will put nearly an entirely new slate of leaders and military commanders in charge of the war." Why oust Pace at this critical juncture and bring in a whole new team? It makes no sense.
And it's a first-degree insult for Gates to suggest that he's trying to save this Marine general from "a divisive ordeal" before Congress, as though Gen. Pace might not be able handle such a traumatic experience. Get real.
We're talking about a guy with military decorations up the wazoo, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, with two oak leaf clusters; Defense Superior Service Medal; the Legion of Merit; Bronze Star Medal with Combat V; the Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal with gold star; Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V"; Navy Achievement Medal with gold star; and the Combat Action Ribbon.
I'm pretty sure Gen. Pace didn't earn all those medals for baking cookies.
A lot of us have been losing faith in this administration's ability to wage this war for some time now, fearing that political considerations were taking precedence over military ones. If President "Bring 'em On!" Bush is willing to throw Gen. Pace under the tank for the sole reason of avoiding a political fight with Senate Majority Leader Harry "The War is Lost" Reid and his band of cheese-eating surrender monkeys, then maybe it IS time to bring the troops home immediately.
09 June 2007