Secretary Of Defense James Mattis Has Resigned

Secretary Of Defense James Mattis Has Resigned

Secretary Of Defense James Mattis Has Resigned

Trump tweeting that we are leaving Syria has rocked the world. Narcissi wrote here of the dangers this poses to the strategic alliances in the region. Today there has been pushback to Trump regarding this decision. Syria, as we all know, has been a cluster from the get go. But now it seems that Trump’s decision was the last straw for Secretary of Defense James Mattis. This afternoon he submitted his resignation.

Photo Credit: DOD photo

Last May he discussed Syria with Pentagon reporters.

The situation in Syria is the “most complex security situation, fighting situation” he has experienced in his four decades of military service, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said Monday.


“What we don’t want to do, now that we are on the cusp of winning on the battlefield in terms of taking down the physical caliphate, the geographic caliphate, we do not want to simply pull out before the diplomats have won the peace,” he said. “So you win the fight, and then you win the peace.”

Mattis was also very clear with Congress last spring about how unstable the peace process is.

Have we “won” the peace in Syria? No. Not by a long shot. And, in fact, that country is still incredibly unstable. It’s a fair bet that Iran has continued to fuel ISIS and other terrorists groups in that country. It’s a fair bet that Russia is likely turning a blind eye to what is happening there and it doesn’t help that Trump’s move played right into Putin’s hands.

Well, it seems that Trump and Mattis aren’t on the same page regarding Syria.

Needless to say, when I saw the news, my jaw dropped to the floor and it’s still there. This is NOT good news as Mattis has been, by far, one of the best Secretaries of Defense this country has seen in a very long time.

His resignation letter is …brutal and very VERY blunt.

Like I said, blunt.

“My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues,” he wrote.

And the kicker: “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”

OUCH and double OUCH. Read the entire letter here.

Mattis is very clear that Russia and China are NOT friends of ours. They never have been and never will be. Their interests, even as we do business with them on multiple levels, are indeed authoritarian and the freedoms we Americans enjoy are not in their lexicon.

Furthermore, I’ve never liked that we are in Syria. However, announcing arbitrarily that U.S. troops are leaving Syria endangers them and is going to cause some significant foreign policy problems.

Mattis’ resignation is going to have long-term repercussions across the DoD and with our allies around the world. Is Mattis leaving just because Trump overruled him on Syria or is there more to it?

We can only guess at this stage.

What I DO know is that the Trump Administration was the better for having James Mattis as Secretary of Defense. Whomever is tapped to take his place has extraordinarily big shoes to fill and will need to be able to handle whatever the enraged left throws at him/her.

Welcome Instapundit Readers!

Feature Photo Credit: DOD Photo, modified and cropped

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  • Scott says:

    In general, i have been happily surprised with the decisions the President has made since he was elected (outside of twitter). His decision on Syria, and others with which SECDEF Mattis disagreed is a different thing all together. This does not bode well for the US.I will certainly pray that whoever the President chooses will do a good job, but i don’t dare to hope that they will be as good as General Mattis.

  • ConsiderThis says:

    The ground war is done.
    Russia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, And The US have brokered an Agreement that Assad will regain control of the Country and return stability, Iran will leave, and the area’s security will be left to those who live there…
    Hardest Hit: The Military Industrial Complex

  • Mike says:

    I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Mattis’ name on the ballot for 2020 or 2024. It doesn’t seem like something in-character for him, unless enough of the right people are able to suggest to him that it’s the best thing to do for the nation he has already given a lifetime of service to.

  • CaptDMO says:

    Ouch, and double ouch?
    Apparently Mr. Mathis is aware that his “advice” is simply that.
    Among men of civil integrity, this is ALSO known as
    “Perhaps so, But NOT today, and NOT on MY watch!” So be it.
    Rather than risk insubordination to his superior, he is withdrawing.
    The alternative is less than attractive.
    It’s what men of integrity do. No harm, no foul, no hair pulling, slapping, and no need for Code Duello.
    Lest we forget, a career sacrificial option taken by many in the military upper echelon when Mr. Obama came into office.
    But I guess we all didn’t see much about that from the usual suspects in media.

  • Dan Rogers says:

    I love this guy(Mattis) and am sorry to see him go. However, the president has clearly shown over the last two years his very long term vision is to get regional players, in conjunction with heavy US sanctions, to police their region. That is why Saudi is working closely with Israel and others to help isolate Iran and its proxies. Same with Skorea, Japan, and China, and Taiwan regarding NKorea. Further, I believe we will still be deploying sorties to still help kill terrorists and that should have been the ultimate goal rather than nation-build for 17 years. When does it stop and others police themselves in a region that is still stuck in the 8th century? Trumps strategic vision has been pretty good thus far, stick with him. We won’t fund our own border security, but can police everyone else?

    Love this site! Merry Christmas!

    • Nina Bookout says:

      Dan, excellent point on the delay/refusal to fund border security yet it’s ok to police the rest of the world.

      Thanks for your comments, glad you enjoy reading VG! Merry Christmas!

    • GWB says:

      While I agree with your points, mostly, I’m not as confident that Trump has a grand (correct) strategy in mind.

      But, if you’re going to go there….
      Maybe this is part of a play to make Mattis UN Ambassador?
      (BTW, I’m available to be SecDef. Or any other position dealing out foreign policy. I’ll bring my own K-Bar.)

  • Theo Moore says:

    Is everyone quite sure that Trump did not bait the media/leftists into supporting the war they have been against for so long?

  • GWB says:

    And, in fact, that country is still incredibly unstable.
    That would be partly because we have done nothing to stabilize it. Always remember that there are two states that are stable: a decent gov’t that runs its country properly with a decent citizenry*, and rubble. We will never be able to, through warfare, introduce the first condition. Period.
    (* Things that look like stability, but aren’t actually what I stated above, are really just a re-arming period, in almost every case.)

    However, announcing arbitrarily that U.S. troops are leaving Syria endangers them and is going to cause some significant foreign policy problems.
    Then, how the heck do you ever get them out? Syria, remnants of ISIS, and the Kurds will never let us get out if we set some kind of conditions.

    Absolutely, whole-heartedly concur with that last paragraph.

  • J. Eric Andreasen says:

    Em Hemî Peshmergeyne.

  • Matthew Borcherding says:

    Iran isn’t funding ISIS. They’re rivals, and ISIS is (or at least was) firmly opposed to Iran’s Syrian government ally. Iran would happily have any ISIS remnants beheaded.

    OK, unless such rivals decide to switch sides…

  • Ken says:

    My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues,


    Regarding the former, treating allies with respect, if its true that elements of our allies used their governmental powers to work against the Trump campaign, well perhaps we shouldn’t be allies anymore.

    Regarding the latter, our strategic competitors, perhaps Mattis just isn’t clear-eyed. Certainly Trump has been hard on China, probably harder than any President since before Nixon. So his statement is just false on it’s face in that regards. If he is referring to Russia. what does he consider the main threat from them? Does he think they are going to launch an attack NATO? Is his concern mainly cyber-threats? Perhaps he can speak more specifically in the future, but as it is his vagueness is simply bull.

  • R Daneel says:


    “It is clear that “We”China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with “Our” their authoritarian model — gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions — to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common “Hegemony” defense.”
    The #TransnationalProgressiveDeepState/Swamp does not want to surrender any of their ability to monetize war.

    The real question is what real American interests are served in having a few thousand troops in Syria? When the Deep State Derps send their own kids to die there I may consider what they have to say.

  • R Daneel says:

    Oh, come on, Nina, this same thing can be said of us these days:

    “Their interests, even as we do business with them on multiple levels, are indeed authoritarian and the freedoms we (think we) enjoy are not in their lexicon.”

    If you have to ask gov’t for permission to do anything, are you really free?

  • Peter Shea says:

    My nephew, Tommy Meyerson, has a nice opinion piece in the WSJ today. As a Marine Captain, he was there. He’s now in his first year at business school and deeply in love with a young lady. He has been very reticent to discuss his overseas tours in Syria and Iraq. I am amazed that he felt moved to write so eloquently at this time of the academic year. He reminds us that the Turks are on record with an intent to wipe out the Syrian Kurds and their allies – our allies. Our withdraw, while maybe a part of larger strategy to teach regional players to police their own regions, may leave our friends in that region twisting in the wind.

  • Quartermaster says:

    While I admired Mattis as a General, as a man operating as a political appointee, there have been serious indications that he was not able to cut the mustard. His globalism and silly position on global warming say that he was not a good fit for Trump’s administration. He would not be a good fit for any admin that held America as first.

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