In regard to the decision not to reappoint Gen. Peter Pace, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman (“Pace casualty of party politics,” Nation, Wednesday): The last chiefs not to be reappointed were Gens. Lyman Lemnitzer and Maxwell Taylor. But the circumstances of their non-reappointment were far different than those of Gen. Pace.
Gen. Lemnitzer had been appointed by President Eisenhower in 1960. President Kennedy chose not to reappoint him in 1962. Gen. Taylor had been appointed by Kennedy to succeed Gen. Lemnitzer. He resigned as chairman when President Johnson asked him to serve as ambassador in South Vietnam.
Thus, Gen. Pace now has the dubious distinction of being the only chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff not to be reappointed by the president who appointed him in the first place — a fate he doesn’t deserve. Our postwar occupation policies of Iraq were made by President Bush, not his advisers. Moreover, one reason he was not reappointed appears to be that Senate Democrats have indicated they will apply political litmus tests to candidates for positions on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Had Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt applied political litmus tests for his military chiefs in World War II, he would have done without the services of Gens. Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, Douglas MacArthur and probably even Gen. George Marshall, to name just a few.
The prospective politicization of the Joint Chiefs by the Democrats and the Bush administration’s acquiescence in this politicization is an ominous threat to America’s security.