Gen. Pace: Enemies of U.S. 'are going to have a bad year'

Gen. Peter Pace shakes hands Tuesday with staff members at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. Pace visited the Army hospital after a trip to the Middle East.


By SCOTT SCHONAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 4, 2006

LANDSTUHL, Germany — After wrapping up a trip to visit troops across the globe, President Bush’s top military adviser gave his prediction for the New Year.

“I predict that the enemies of the United States of America are going to have a bad year in 2006,” chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace said Tuesday in a brief interview as he walked through the halls of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Pace, the first Marine to serve as chairman, visited the Army hospital after greeting troops in Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Djibouti over the holidays. It was his first trip to the regions since taking over as chairman in September.

The general said he also foresees fewer U.S. forces in Iraq in 2006 as they continue to help rebuild the country’s police and military.

“We’re making good progress there, and we’re going to be sticking with the program we’ve got right now, which is training the Iraqi armed forces, training the Iraqi police, turning over more and more of the security responsibilities to the Iraqi government,” he said. “We’ll be able to transition then more and more of the country to their control and as we transition that, we’ll be able to have fewer of our forces maybe in country to be able to get the job done.”

He added that the different ethnic groups in Iraq must find a way to work with one another.

“That’s very much an Iraqi responsibility,” Pace said. “They’re going to have to figure out how to work together, how to understand that by working together and cooperating there is a much better opportunity for progress.”

The government, the armed forces and the police of Iraq “are going to have to blend themselves together in a way that allows them to take advantage of the strengths in each of those communities,” he added.

Pace gave out coins to patients and staff members, and said he was “humbled” by the quality of the troops he met on his trip.

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shakes hands and gives a coin to Army National Guard Sgt. Joshua Henniger on Tuesday at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. Henniger was injured by mortar fire in Iraq just three days before he was scheduled to return to the U.S.

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