Mattis: People Thought He Could Temper Trump, They Thought Wrong

Mattis: People Thought He Could Temper Trump, They Thought Wrong

Mattis: People Thought He Could Temper Trump, They Thought Wrong

While we are all still trying to unpack General James Mattis’ earlier-than-planned departure from the Trump administration, The New York Times rolled out an opinion him that was actually worthy of some praise yesterday. Color me shocked.

“He had apparently always been full of ideas, and vocal about them, so one of his previous commanders had dubbed him Chaos, short for “Colonel Has Another Outstanding Suggestion.” Nobody called him Mad Dog.

I later had the privilege of fighting another battle with General Mattis, who by 2005 was a three-star general leading the Marine Corps’ Combat Development Command, responsible for the thinking side of war. General Mattis worked with David Petraeus, then a three-star general in the Army, in the writing of the Army and Marine Corps’ Counterinsurgency Field Manual, on which I played a junior role. General Mattis, known as the “Warrior Monk,” had a personal library of 7,000 volumes on war and strategy; he gave as good as he got from General Petraeus, who holds a doctorate from Princeton University. The two created a revolutionary manual that changed how the Army and the Marines thought about conflict — and how they fought the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”-John A. Nagi, U.S. Army, RET.

You can read the whole column here. John A. Nagi’s opinion is in stark contrast to Lucian K. Truscott IV’s “good riddance” article in Salon:

“…And now Trump’s Last General’s feelings are all hurt, because he wasn’t consulted about pulling 2,000 troops out of Syria or 7,000 troops out of Afghanistan. What were those troops doing in Syria? We don’t know, and I don’t think Mattis had much of an idea what they were doing, either.-Lucian K. Truscott IV

He was the secretary of defense, after all. He SHOULD have been consulted. End of story. Somehow, I don’t think Mattis is one to get his feelings hurt to the point of resignation. Just spitballing here. From what I see, he handled this like an adult in the room.

Instead of the President consulting someone with years of experience as he should have, a decision was made. A decision with which Mattis did not agree. We had hope. Once upon a time, news reports said that a personality such as General Mattis would temper a personality like Donald Trump:

…But it seems as if even the “Warrior Monk”, as he is known, was unable to temper our President. For one of the first times since 2016, it seems as if a liberal outlet such as The New York Times is on a united front with us in questioning the departure of this highly-qualified, esteemed General as our secretary of defense. Of course, this is an opinion piece but we cannot deny that this piece painted Mattis in a positive light-a dedicated Marine who supported the troops, a grunt who got down in foxholes with them. He was the adult in the room and there is a reason this man wore stars. He was (and still is) a Marine’s Marine and a man who stands by his intuition and his convictions:

“I strongly disagree with this decision to withdraw, prematurely in my view, from Syria.”-Gen. James Mattis

All this talk about adults in the room, let’s address that elephant. I must admit, I’m struggling here and trying to process. I struggle when I see rash decisions being made by our President. While I want to trust Donald Trump’s business intuition and how it applies to our economy and I find his trolling of career democrat criminals and the media muppets amusing, I shake my head as he lets General Mattis walk out the door. A series of tweets does not make this better. Not at all, Mr. President.

The near-destruction of ISIS in a matter of months (losing 99 percent of its landed caliphate), the restoration of sound defense budgeting, a reestablished sense of deterrence, and stable recalibration with allies were the signature achievements of James Mattis. And it seems a mistake not to have him finish a four-year stint at Defense.-Victor Davis Hanson, National Review

We wish General Mattis all of the best. Oorah and Semper Fidelis, Marine. In the meantime, it seems this stint has come to an end and this was a yuuuge mistake. I do hope I am wrong. Bigly.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Creative Commons/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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1 Comment
  • scott says:

    Great post Lisa, I agree with you across the board, especially the last paragraph… Here’s to hoping and praying this doesn’t end up being the biggest mistake the President has made..

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