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Joint Chiefs Chair Axed To Avoid Show Trials

From an elated Washington Post:

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Peter Pace

Joint Chiefs Chair Will Bow Out

Pentagon Wary of Thorny Reconfirmation Hearings

By Josh White and Thomas E. Ricks
Saturday, June 9, 2007; A01

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced yesterday that Marine Gen. Peter Pace will step down as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September, a move that Gates said will avert the contentious congressional hearings that would be needed to reconfirm the nation’s top military officer. Pace will leave after just two years in the post, the shortest stint as chairman in more than four decades.

The surprise announcement yesterday at the Pentagon amounts to Pace being fired before a customary second two-year term. He has served as the top military adviser to President Bush and the defense secretary since 2005, leading a war effort that has frustrated the American public and appears no closer to a conclusion.

Gates said that his decision was rooted in political considerations and that he took guidance from members of Congress who warned that Pace could face a maelstrom on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers would dissect the military’s failures in Iraq. Pace has been at the center of war planning and policy since the days immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when he started as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Pace’s departure — along with the simultaneous retirement of Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, his vice chairman — completes a nearly clean sweep of top military advisers linked to the tenure of Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary. Both military officers were close to Rumsfeld and have been criticized for not challenging him…

As he noted yesterday, Gates had planned to retain both Pace and Giambastiani but decided against that when it became clear that Pace would face a difficult reconfirmation hearing.

Gates said his decision had “absolutely nothing to do with” his view of either officer’s performance.

“I think that the events of the last several months have simply created an environment in which I think there would be a confirmation process that would not be in the best interests of the country,” Gates told reporters at the Pentagon during an afternoon news conference. “I am disappointed that circumstances make this kind of a decision necessary.” …

Apparently, it is more important to avoid nasty hearings and Code Pink demonstrations than to have the best man for the job at the top of the military.

Good thing we aren’t in the middle of a war, huh?

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, June 9th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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