Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Peter Pace claimed that fewer American soldiers have died in Iraq than people who were killed in the 9/11 attacks. In doing so Mr. Pace grossly downplayed the number and significance of casualties in Iraq.
Appearing on CBS' Early Show on Memorial Day Mr Pace said:
When you take a look at the life of a nation and all that's required to keep us free, we had more than 3,000 Americans murdered on 11 September, 2001. The number who have died, sacrificed themselves since that time is approaching that number.In fact just under 3,000 people perished on September 11th and not all of them were Americans. More importantly 3474 American soldiers have given their lives in Iraq.
As one of the United States highest ranking and most important military commanders Mr. Pace should know how many of his soldiers have died in an ongoing war.
Nearly a year ago, when the number of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan did surpass the 9/11 attack totals, Mr. Pace was more aware of the cost of the war. He made a strikingly similar statement while testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
It's now almost five years since September 11, 2001, and the number of young men and women in our armed forces who have sacrificed their lives that we might live in freedom is approaching the number of Americans who were murdered on 9/11 in New York, in Washington, D.C., and in Pennsylvania.Perhaps Mr. Pace simply failed to update his talking points, perhaps he is disconnected from the actual men and women who are fighting and dying in Iraq. Mr. Pace's trouble remembering how many soldiers, ostensibly in his care, have died in Iraq is inexcusable and serves to highlight the Bush Administration's disregard for the consequences of their actions.
Harry Smith, the reporter conducting the interview, completely ignored Mr. Pace's false statement. Such a lapse is sadly indicative of the manner in which the American media has abrogated their pursuit of the truth and exchanged that pursuit for a regurgitation of Administration talking points. Apparently Mr. Smith can't handle the truth either.
Raw Story has a follow up interview with a spokesman for Gen. Pace defending his statements.