A Divisive Ordeal, Part II

I read with interest the post by my friend Peter Fenn regarding the fate of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, penned last week. While Peter and I generally see eye to eye regardless of our political orientation, I have another perspective to the general’s retirement that I’d like to share in light of Fenn’s post.

In a word, I am steamed by the forced retirement of General Pace. In a word, this is pathetic. General Pace has selflessly served the United States in the Marine Corps for some 40 years, beginning with his service at the U.S. Naval Academy. As the president noted in a statement over the weekend, “As part of our senior military leadership, [General Pace] has helped oversee the liberation of more than 50 million people.” And unfortunately, the general’s role in this liberation of millions of people who had been oppressed by brutal regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan has put him in the crosshairs of those who wish to play partisan politics on Capitol Hill.

According to published reports over the weekend, Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) concluded that General Pace’s re-nomination would have been divisive and forced senators to look back on the Iraq war rather than looking forward to the challenges confronting America in the days ahead. Are you kidding me? Just because a number of senators have issue with the president’s leadership waging the War on Terrorism, a sharp, dedicated military officer must step down to appease those who are displeased with the course of the war? What about the millions of Americans in this country who have benefited by Pace’s wisdom and insights to steer our military in challenging times at the dawn of the 21st century?

I can’t help but think that America is being deprived of a strong leader who has worked around the clock to keep us safer due to partisan politics and silly games being played on Capitol Hill. I only wish the general were given the chance to defend the actions of our brave men and women in uniform while also outlining the strategic thinking he and civilian Defense Secretary Gates will take in the days ahead to keep this country safer. Chalk one up to partisan politics and the desire to hurt the president at any cost when the reality is that America has been deprived of a true warrior and leader in a time of war. What a shame.