Gen. Mattis’s long and hard experience in U.S. Military leadership is undeniable, and he will keep this nation’s national security and the lives and well-being of our troops as his primary focus…
Gen. Ralph Peters: What our nation would get with Gen. Mattis as Defense Secretary
I’m lucky enough to know General James Mattis slightly. Just well enough to trust him unreservedly with our military and our nation’s security.
The president-elect could not choose a better man to be our next Secretary of Defense. Not just because 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 Jim Mattis because he’s a man of character, that most un-Washingtonian quality. 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 that one has to reach back to a Victorian vocabulary: He has a noble spirit.
In addition to plenty of dirty-boots experience in the Middle East and a deep knowledge of history—that most underrated study—Jim Mattis has another great qualification to be SecDef: He wasn’t looking for a job. He was happy in retirement, studying, helping his fellow Marines, and contributing thoughtfully to our national security behind the scenes.
The last time I heard from him—a bit before the election—he mentioned, not for the first time, that he was glad to be west of the Rockies. A Washington, D.C. post was not part of the plan; rather, he thought of farming in rural Washington State.
This matters. In an age of sycophants and clawing ambition, it’s a splendid prospect to have a classic patriot who’s willing to sacrifice to serve (as Jim Mattis already has for four decades in uniform).
Stanton S. Coerr: I Served With James Mattis. Here’s What I Learned From Him: To Marines, Gen. James Mattis is the finest of our tribal elders. The rest of the world, very soon, will know how truly gifted he is.
America knows Gen. James Mattis as a character, Mad Dog Mattis, the font of funny quotes and Chuck Norris-caliber memes. Those of us who served with him know that he is a caring, erudite, warfighting general. We also know that there is a reason he uses the call-sign Chaos: he is a lifelong student of his profession, a devotee of maneuver warfare and Sun Tzu, the sort of guy who wants to win without fighting—to cause chaos among those he would oppose.
To Marines, he is the finest of our tribal elders. The rest of the world, very soon, will know how truly gifted he is. Our friends and allies will be happy he is our new secretary of war; our enemies will soon wish he weren’t.
“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.”