GEN. JAMES MATTIS
Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Defense
The nomination of retired Marine Corps General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense was greeted with near universal acclaim.
Mattis has been praised by Republicans and Democrats alike, and more importantly, by the men and women who have served with him and under his command. He is expected to win easy confirmation.
The 66-year-old bachelor and career military man earned the nickname ‘Mad Dog’ after leading combat troops into the Persian Gulf War in 1991, as well as Afghanistan and Iraq in the early 2000s.
In the 2004 battle of Fallujah in Iraq, he led British and American troops against Iraqi insurgents. He has backed up the nickname with unflinching candor, such as his 2005 declaration in a panel discussion about the Taliban that “it’s fun to shoot people.”
However, he is said to prefer the other nickname that has been bestowed upon him — ‘The Warrior Monk.’ Mattis has dedicated his life to the military and is a student of military history. He’s also an extremely articulate speaker. He retired from the military in 2013 after taking over the role of running the U.S. Central Command from Gen. David Petraeus in 2010.
Since he has only been out of the military for less than four years, he will need to receive a waiver from Congress to serve as Secretary of Defense as law requires those who serve to be at least seven years removed from military service.
Mattis is known for being well read, calm under pressure and not given to any ‘cowboy’ like behavior. He is also known for his quick wit and his great quotes.
Here are some of this best over the years, all spoken when he was on active duty:
- “The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.”
- “No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.”
- “You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”
- “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
- “The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot.”
- “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.” (This was said to Iraqi military officers in 2003.)
- “I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.”
- “Marines don’t know how to spell the word defeat.”
- “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. It’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.” — Jay Caruso, Red State, Dec. 3, 2016
EDITORIAL By Ralph Peters
There is no better man to be the next secretary of defense. Not just because James Mattis is a battle-hardened Marine with a remarkable combat record. And not just because he has a mind of remarkable clarity and is, without question, the best-read general of his generation. I trust Mattis because he’s a man of character. His public image is of one rough-and-tough Marine, but the man I’ve encountered is, above all, one of integrity. His code of honor is so out of fashion one has to reach back to a Victorian vocabulary: He has a noble spirit.