Pace, responding to a question from the audience as he spoke at the Joint Forces Staff College on Thursday, said he first heard that his expected nomination for a second two-year term was in jeopardy in mid-May.
Robert Gates, the US secretary of defence announced on June 8 that Pace was being replaced.
"One thing that was discussed was whether or not I should just voluntarily retire and take the issue off the table," Pace said, according to a transcript released on Friday by his office at the Pentagon. "I said I could not do that for one very fundamental reason," which is that no soldier or marine in
"That is unacceptable as a leadership thing, in my mind," he said.
Pace, whose current term ends on October 1, said he intended to continue as main military adviser to George Bush, the
Navy Admiral Michael Mullen has been announced as Bush's choice to succeed Pace – he is the first marine ever to hold the military's top post.
The decision to drop Pace has increased the political debate over the
On Thursday, Harry Reid, the senate Democratic majority Leader, caused a stir when he said Pace failed in his job of providing congress with a candid assessment on the war.Democrats have shied from criticising military officers and instead have focused on Bush and the
Asked for a comment on Reid's statement, Marine Colonel Katie Haddock, a spokeswoman for Pace, said he "is focused on his duties as chairman and is not going to respond to press reports on who's saying what. He will let 40 years of service speak for itself."
"I will run through the finish line on 1 October, and when I run through the finish line I will have met the mission I set for myself," he said.
Pace was vice chairman of the joint chiefs during the run-up to the
In October 2005 he succeeded Air Force General Richard Myers as joint chiefs chairman, and until recently had largely been spared the criticism that senior civilian officials attracted.
The decision to sideline Pace came as a surprise, since Gates had indicated privately that he intended to recommend that the president renominate him.
In his remarks in
When he announced the decision last Friday, Gates said that after consulting with members of the senate he concluded that keeping Pace would risk a senate confirmation struggle focusing on the
"It would be a backward-looking and very contentious process," Gates said.
At the same time, he made clear he had made his decision with reluctance, saying he wished it had not been necessary.
Last Mod: 16 Haziran 2007, 18:44