The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civil award, awarded to individuals who have contributed to: 1) the security or national interests of the United States, 2) world peace, or 3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
Yesterday, the White House released a list of the newest recipients, who will be honored at a White House ceremony next week. Included in that list is former Rumsfeld yes-man Gen. Peter Pace:
General Peter Pace, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), is one of our Nation’s most accomplished and respected military officers. His selfless service and visionary leadership have helped keep our Nation safe.
Pace’s tenure as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was characterized less by “visionary leadership” and more by the politicization of the military. He was a consistent defender of the Bush administration’s failed policies, insisting in 2006 that everything in Iraq was “going very, very well from everything you look at” and claiming that Rumsfeld “leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country.”
Pace also stepped in to write a letter during the Valerie Plame leak trial endorsing Scooter Libby’s character, specifically noting his “selfless” nature. In 2007, he defended the military’s ban on gays serving openly in the military, stating, “I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral.”
Defense Secretary Robert Gates effectively forced Pace into retirement last year because the administration wanted to avoid “contentious” Senate hearings over the Iraq war. He was the shortest-serving Joint Chiefs chairman since Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor in 1964, who stepped down during the early years of the Vietnam War.
By receiving the Medal of Freedom, Pace joins old friends who participated in the mismanagement of the Iraq war, including George Tenet, Paul Bremer, and Gen. Tommy Franks.