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The pulling of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs’ re-nomination of “Perfect” Peter Pace is just the latest in a series of cowardly acts we have been treated to by the Bush administration.
If there is anything good about it — and there ain’t much — it's that at least this time the secretary of defense is being straight with us about the reason for this rather embarrassing development.
“We did not want to dwell on the past,” is what the secretary of defense said, which in Washington jargon means, “we are crapping-in-our-pants-afraid of being held accountable for our actions, so we are not going to put this nomination forward.”
The president decided to run away. He did not stand and fight. It makes me want to yell, “Hey! Mr. President! We are in a war and your senior military guy, your numero uno Marine, needed some fire support and you did … NOT A DAMN THING? You turned your back on your guy? What is up with that?”
Traditionally, the Marines have never held the chairman job, since they’re considered subordinate to the Navy, so I was happy for the Marines when they finally did get the job. Unfortunately, the job went to the wrong Marine. I am not a fan of General Pace. I know the guy. He is a consummate politician, which is a very bad thing to be if you are also a soldier or Marine.
He served with bravery in Vietnam, but has since lost his way. The job should have gone to General Jim Jones, a Marine and former NATO Commander — and a true leader. Gen. Jones speaks his mind and knows how to fight. He would have a better choice by a mile, but even so, Pete Pace deserved and certainly earned more than he got from this president.
Pace was Rumsfeld’s deputy when the Department of Defense was saying things like, “It’s not an insurgency,” or “Go to war with the Army you have,” and, my all-time favorite, “The number of attacks are down, but the number of casualties are up.”
Pace held the Joint Chief position for the 18 months we spent doing the wrong things in Iraq, because we did no planning for the moments after we were handed an amazing victory by our great Marines and soldiers.
These things and others make four star General Pace the equivalent of one of the leaders of the “gang that couldn’t shoot straight.” He will correctly be identified with the failed policies that have lead to the chaos we witness everyday in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We have suffered the deaths and wounding of over 37,000 servicemen in Iraq so, I guess, it is more than appropriate that a few generals lose their jobs.
My problem with Pace being fired is that it was done for all the wrong reasons. But then, I guess, if you live by the political sword, you die by the political sword. The president let his guy down, and in doing so, let the rest of us down. It just so happens that in this case, it could not have happened to a better guy.
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Colonel David Hunt, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a FOX News military analyst and the author of the New York Times bestseller They Just Don’t Get It. He has extensive operational experience in counterterrorism, special operations, and intelligence operations. He has trained the FBI and Special Forces in counterterrorism tactics, served as the security adviser to six different Olympic Games, testified as an expert at many major terrorist trials, and lectured at the CIA, the FBI, and the National Security Agency. You can read his complete bio here.