One Up, One Down
Two years ago, we celebrated the ascension of General Peter Pace to the nation's top military post, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Those of us wearing or who once wore Marine green applauded loudly. General Pace had become the first leatherneck to lay claim to the chairmanship. About time, we said.
But over four years as Vice Chairman and two as Chairman, General Pace became closely identified with a war whose course has been, to be kind, uneven. Thus, sadly, and shockingly, General Pace's tenure came to a premature end last month when Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that he was not going to recommend to President Bush that the general be renominated for what has been a de rigueur second two-year term for the CJCS.
Mr. Gates said his soundings among both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill had persuaded him that General Pace's Senate confirmation hearing would become a fractious and highly divisive forum for debating the President's Iraq War policies. The country didn't need that and neither did General Pace, the Secretary said.