Friday, December 02, 2005
Top general: Military must do more to explain progress in Iraq
Thursday, December 1, 2005 Posted: 1651 GMT (0051 HKT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday urged defense personnel, civilian and military alike, to step forward to explain to the American people President Bush's strategy to achieve victory in his war on terrorism.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace spoke to students at the National Defense University at Fort McNair to "punctuate" the publication Wednesday of Bush's "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq," a document that underscored the president's commitment to "stay the course" in that Middle Eastern country.
"We cannot say, 'We win and get on to the next event,'" he said. "We can say, 'We are winning, and we will stay at it because our children and grandchildren deserve to live in the kinds of freedom you and I have enjoyed all our lives.'"
Pace said victory in the war on terrorism would not be "Victory in Europe day. It is not Victory in Japan day. It is not something where there will be a signing ceremony."
Instead, he said, short-term victory would be the progress made in Iraq, mid-term victory would be Iraqis taking the lead in their own country and long-term victory would be "a free and peaceful Iraq living in peace with its neighbors and no longer hospitable" to terrorists.
Military and civilian defense personnel, he said, could do a better job spreading the word about the progress in Iraq, and he called on the students -- military and civilian defense leaders along with some international officials and personnel returning from Iraq -- to talk about the issue both among themselves and in the community at large.
'We have done ourselves a disservice'
He cited progress in all three main areas of Iraq -- political, economic and security -- noting the upcoming election, increasing business opportunities and nearly 300,000 Iraqis who have had some security force training.
As Bush did Wednesday, Pace skimmed over the number of Iraqi battalions capable of fighting on their own -- believed to be only one -- and instead focused on the way the military describes units ready to function on their own.
"We have done ourselves a disservice in the way we have defined the progress of Iraqi forces," he said.
More than 30 battalions are controlling their own areas of operation, he said, but they need some support from U.S. troops, just as individual battalions of U.S. troops need support from other units.
'No option but victory'
Pace also addressed the call for a plan of withdrawal from Iraq, saying there is "no option but victory."
"I say to those now who say we should just stop fighting in Iraq, just stop fighting in Afghanistan, just stop fighting the terrorists and this would just go away -- you need to get out and read what our enemies are saying," he said. "Remember Hitler. He wrote 'Mein Kampf.'"
Terrorists have laid out a plan for global domination in 100 years, he said, although he did not specify the origins of that information.
"Their goal is to destroy our way of life," he said. "No equivocation on their part. They're not saying if you stay home we won't come after you."
"Our enemies are ruthless, uncaring," he said. "They murder children with bombs. They murdered tourists in Bali, children in Russia, folks waiting in line to vote."
"The more people understand who these terrorists are, the more they will gather together to defeat them."
Pace said the fight against terrorism -- which he described as "a long war" -- would be won, particularly with a global coalition.
"There is no nation so big and powerful that it can carry this fight by itself, and there is no nation so small that it cannot have strategic impact," he said. "We need to work together as friends."
Finally, Pace said that while Iraq occupies front and center in the war on terrorism, other areas are under scrutiny. He declined to offer details, however.
"(Iraq) is the current center of gravity both for our prosecution of the war on terrorism and for the terrorists, ... (but) there are multiple other places around the world where we are focused on countering the terrorist threat," he said.
END OF ARTICLE
Posted by Citizen Rampant at 12/02/2005 04:25:00 AM