Friday, January 06, 2006

Chairman of Joint Chiefs Sounds off on Murtha

Washington Post, 6 January 2006 (Subscription required)

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, criticized Rep. John P. Murtha yesterday for sending "the wrong message" to American youth when the congressman indicated in an interview this week that he would not join today's military.

Pace, who just returned from Iraq, sternly told reporters at the Pentagon yesterday that the U.S. Army is the best-trained army in the world, and he expressed disappointment in Murtha's comments.

"That's damaging to recruiting, it's damaging to the morale of the troops who are deployed, and it's damaging to the morale of their families who believe in what they're doing to serve this country," Pace said, adding that 2.4 million volunteers protect the nearly 300 million U.S. residents.

"When a respected leader like Mr. Murtha, who has spent 37 extremely honorable years as a Marine, fought in two wars, has served the country extremely well in the Congress of the United States, when a respected individual like that says what he said, and 18- and 19-year-olds look to their leadership to determine how they are expected to act, they can get the wrong message."

GEN Pace set the right tone with his rebuke to Murtha's comments about military service. Congress is responsible for raising and supporting armies, according to our constitution. That task becomes infinitely harder if the members of that august body openly disdain the value of military service in public commentary.

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