By John D. Banusiewicz
WASHINGTON, July 4, 2006 – Allegations of wrongdoing by some U.S. service members serving in Iraq reinforce the values of those who serve with honor, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today. In Independence Day appearances on morning news programs, Marine Gen. Peter Pace was asked for his reaction to a former soldier being arrested in North Carolina yesterday and charged with rape and murder, as well as other recent allegations being investigated.
"It is unfortunate when some folks are accused of doing those kinds of things, but it just reinforces to the 99.9 percent of the American fighting men and women who are serving with honor, serving with dignity, serving this country as well as you'd expect them to, that they are the ones who are serving properly," the general told Harry Smith on CBS's "Early Show." "And for those who stray, if they have, we will investigate and we will take proper action," the chairman added.
On NBC's "Today" program, Pace told Ann Curry that the incidents don't reflect the military's values. "Any such acts on the part of any U.S. service member, if proven to be true, are totally unacceptable," he said. "We know that in uniform, and all of our fellow citizens know that." The general noted that allegations against the former soldier and other members of his unit came to light in a post-deployment counseling session.
"We make available to families, to soldiers and Marines, counseling after they've left the battlefield to ensure that their mental health is as good as their physical health," he told Smith. "I understand it was during one of these counseling sessions that this latest accusation came out. So, again, we've had over a million who have served in the Gulf. And it is unacceptable that anybody would do anything like these folks are accused of. "But if they have," he continued, "they will be dealt with. And the vast majority of American servicemen and women should be proud of how they are serving this nation."