The Congressional “Peter” Principle

Steve Schippert at ThreatsWatch wrote a piece the other day about General Peter Pace that is really worth the read. I never really knew much about General Pace except that he had to have been a remarkable man to have become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After reading Steve’s piece, I learned that General Pace was more than just remarkable. Here’s a portion:

This picture of an index card placed at the Vietnam Memorial is worth well more than a thousand words. It is exemplary of the character of a Marine who, rather than face vociferous Congressional opposition based on political objectives grounded in little more than a domestic public relations war, was asked to and chose to spare the nation such anguish and retire before he was otherwise inclined to do so. General Peter Pace has years of capable and needed service left in him. They have, for unconscionable reasons, been sacrificed by others upon the altar of political ambition.

His leadership, for over forty years guided by his “moral compass,” has always has been embraced by those who followed him. And so, upon his reluctant retirement, feeling he still had service owed to those he commanded and lost in Vietnam, he presented his stars to Lance Corporal Guido Farinaro where the fallen Marine is honored at the Vietnam Memorial.

In the picture, above the stars pinned to a simple 3×5 index card placed among other notes at the foot of the Vietnam Memorial, were the humble words, “These are yours – not mine!” He did the same for each of the six other Marines who, after Lcpl. Farinaro, also paid the ultimate price under 2nd Lt. Pace’s young command. Such selflessness had guided General Pace’s entire career, one which he personally dedicated to honoring the seven Marines who followed his orders in combat and died in service to their country.

In a September address to enlisted military personnel ahead of his retirement as a Marine and as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Pace described what drove him daily in his active duty service after Vietnam and the loss of seven Marines under his command.

He explained, “There was never a doubt in my mind what I was supposed to do with the rest of my life when I came out of Vietnam without even a scratch. And that was to try as best I could to serve this nation on active duty in a way that would pay proper respect to those Marines who followed me as their platoon leader and gave their lives for their country. Enlisted Marines who taught me what love on the battlefield was about. When I came home, I tried to give those in my charge what I could no longer give to those who had lost their lives.”

Lance Corporal Farinaro was the first Marine killed under then 2nd Lieutenant Peter Pace’s command in Vietnam. An Italian immigrant from New York, Guido Farinaro joined the Marine Corps because he felt compelled to repay his adopted nation through service to it. With his sacrifice on the battlefield, it is this nation which in turn will forever owe him.

No one tried harder or did more to attempt to repay that eternal debt than Peter Pace, United States Marine. Such is the honor and character of a good man. Such is the honor sacrificed by others upon the altar of political ambition.

Read all of Steve’s article.

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