September 3rd, 2007
04:45 PM ET
15 years ago

General Pace, unplugged

Gen. Peter Pace has about a month left as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

(CNN) – Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs don’t usually find themselves as warm-up acts, but that’s the role General Peter Pace found himself in Monday during President Bush’s surprise visit to Iraq.

The retiring chairman showed a far more animated side than the formal, serious one usually seen in Washington in full dress uniform. Wearing desert fatigues, General Pace held court before the troops while waiting for the president’s belated appearance.

“This is a 3-act performance”, Pace told the crowd while filling unexpected time. “I’m act one. Now I’m act two.”

The general said he wanted to take questions and hear comments from the forces, reminding them, “I’ve only got 30 days left, so it’s a free shot.” To laughter, he said, “If I know the answer, I’ll tell you. If I don’t, I’ll make something up. By the time you figure it out, I’ll be gone.”

Turning serious, he then said, “All kidding aside, if it’s something I should know, by all means tell me. If you want to tell me something, I’m all ears.”

Asked his plans after retiring next month, Pace told the troops, “I have a day job. I’m going to run to the finish line in 1 October because you deserve to have me still focused on my responsibilities. On 2 October, I’ll start thinking about what I’ll do next.”

Pace said that while he may have some idea what he may want, “I do know any time I spend thinking about what happens next is time I’m taking away from you, and I’m not going to do that.”

–CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. steve san diego ca

    I can't think of a more apt way to describe the appearance of Der Fuhrer in Iraq drumming up support for his illegal war

    A comedy act!
    They're really killin' em.

    Turning serious, he then said, “All kidding aside, if it’s something I should know, by all means tell me. If you want to tell me something, I’m all ears.”

    Gee, I wonder if anyone really got to ask the enabling general a question?

    September 3, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. xtina chicago IL

    General Peter Pace was complicated and misunderstood. He was one of the few who knew how to get along well with Donald Rumsfeld, although they disagreed on Guantanamo . Pace thought it should be closed. He also thought the US should follow the Geneva Conventions even with Al Qaeda. He wanted to talk to China and thought war with Iran is wrong to consider. He also pushed last fall for a new strategy in Iraq.

    Even though Peter Pace honored Donald Rumsfeld with this quote: "He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country," I'd like to say that quote also may be applied to General Pace.

    September 3, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. Steve, Swansboro, nc

    Isn't he the little multi-tasker?

    September 3, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. Blayze Kohime, Columbus OH

    Its nice he can make jokes while an entire nation collapses in failure around him. Real cute.

    September 3, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  5. John Healy

    I can't understand Blayze Kohime's comment, from what I read it seems that Iraq is starting to get it's act together, From all accounts the "surge" is working. To paraphase the words of a popular song "Give Peace a Chance"

    September 3, 2007 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  6. Ellen, Springfield virginia

    Lighten up, even the fighting "guys" in Iraq get to tell jokes.

    September 3, 2007 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  7. Tommy

    "Entire nation collapses in failure"??? Record homeowners, record stocks month after month, record profits, lowest unemployment, highest minority homeowners, Basra and Anbar now in Iraqi control, record terrorist kills, lowest rate of casualty in the HISTORY of war, deficit shrank at highest percentage in a decade, surge "working" says Dems, radical Islamists frustrated and pissed off, idiot Hollywood-types proving they are as dumb as projected. All in all I'd say we are succeeding in a dramatic way... unless you listen to the mainstream media, DailyKos, Harry Reid, Al-qeada or anyone else hoping America and Iraqis lose this war. (like you)

    September 3, 2007 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  8. Craig Walters, La Verne, CA

    Lighten up, not all of the troops are Democrates... some have a sense of humor.

    September 3, 2007 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  9. Ben R. Rodriguez MS

    Yes, our family (20 +) believe in your Husband and now we believe in YOU 100 % – We rolled up our sleves and help you to be the Next Presidente of the United States. Good blessed you!!

    September 4, 2007 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  10. Jack E. Jett

    He is going to miss the men.

    I hope he will be able to spend more time with Lindsey Graham

    jack jett

    September 4, 2007 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  11. Greg, Lenexa, KS

    I hope the situation in Iraq is improving, but until we have regime change in the US there will be no way to tell. This is, by my count, the 179th time someone from the administration has told us that things are getting better. Remember "the insurgency is in its last throes"? Why would ANYONE ever believe ANYTHING ever again that this administration says. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me 180 times, my name must be Tommy.

    September 4, 2007 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. Rick, Chicago Illinois


    Record homeowners (followed by record foreclosures and continued DROPS in home prices that may lead to a recession), record stocks month after month (that aren't translating to higher salaries, less debt, or an increase in savings for anybody who needs it since the stock market is nothing more than a legalized gambling vehicle), record profits (for CEOs that AGAIN isn't making its way down to the majority of workers who make the CEO those record profits), lowest unemployment (after doing things like calling burger flipping "manufacturing"), highest minority homeowners (that are now being foreclosed on in record numbers), Basra and Anbar now in Iraqi control (and yet the Iraqis STILL are falling woefully short of benchmarks they need to meet for us to come home), record terrorist kills (record terrorist enlistments that replace every one we kill by probably a 4 to 1 ratio or higher), lowest rate of casualty in the HISTORY of war (especially since the military changed their definition of "murder" as it applies to Iraqis in a war STILL being fought vs third-world countries with 1/1000th the military we have after almost FIVE years), deficit shrank at highest percentage in a decade (thanks to Dubya using the grossly inflated 2004 White House’s projected deficit numbers which even conservatives like Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation disagree with), surge "working" says Dems (see benchmark response), radical Islamists frustrated and pissed off (see record new recruitment response), idiot Hollywood-types proving they are as dumb as projected (except for the one you guys are waiting on to declare his candidacy right?).

    Poor Tommy. Not a SINGLE Bush "positive" I couldn't easily tear down!

    Do try harder with your next post wont you?

    September 4, 2007 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. Greenville, NC

    Petter Pace is a joke and i don't know why they haven't fired is crazy out of control butt yet! cheers to that.

    September 4, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. Eric, Republic of Texas

    Funny. Tommy (above) brings up some great points, and right on cue, some liberal Eeyore pops up dragging his storm cloud, to snidely rain gloom and doom. To liberals, ALL glasses are half empty, even those that are full.

    Fact is, if Bush's numbers on the economy had happened in the 1990s under Clinton, CNN and the rest of the dinosaur media would be falling all over themselves to be the first to praise Clinton and trumpet how great the economy was.

    And Rick from Chicago, you didn't tear down anything... only displayed the typical, sad, clinically-depressed worldview of the modern American Democrat party (see glass-half-empty comment above).

    Reminds me of the joke where Bush walks out across the surface of the Potomac to retrieve the wind-blown hat of a visiting Pope. The next day the headlines scream, "Bush Can't Swim."

    September 4, 2007 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    Eric, Republic of Texas,

    "And Rick from Chicago, you didn't tear down anything… only displayed the typical, sad, clinically-depressed worldview of the modern American Democrat party (see glass-half-empty comment above)."

    Your post reminds me of the joke that is the 20-percenters (especially from Texas) that STILL support this guy.

    I'd expect nothing less from you Eric!

    September 5, 2007 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  16. Blayze Kohime, Columbus, OH

    Open your eyes people. This is not 'getting our act together'.
    The way they 'measured' violence is tilted. For example: shooting someone in the back of the head was considered an act of terror or insurgency, while when people got shot from the front it was only considered a regular crime and thus not counted in the statistics. Why draw this seemingly arbitrary line unless to pad your statistics?
    Time to look into things hm?

    September 15, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |