So I was listening to the local NPR outlet in the car earlier (yeah, I know, I know, I’m a masochist) and on some show or other they were discussing General Mattis’ departure from the SecDef post. The hosts went on and on in the most effusive terms about what a swell guy he was: best SecDef EVAR; a reasonable, bipartisan, intelligent, capable guy; beloved of both Republicans and Democrats alike; respected by all and disliked by none. This, followed up with some pearl-clutching hysterics over the Trump admin being in UTTER CHAOS, etc.
And sorry, but I damned near upchucked my lunch. I mean, come the fuck ON, willya? Do you propagandizing feebs REALLY think none of us remember you and your confreres absolutely pissing your pants when Trump proposed him for the slot? How Mattis—MAD DOG!! MAD DOG!!! The very nickname alone was enough to reduce the Left to tears—was a bloodthirsty warmongering murderer; an inhuman, callous butcher with no regard for the lives and well-being of the Oppressed Brown People he’d brutally victimized throughout his gore-soaked career?
I liked Mattis’ approach myself a great deal early on, and the fact that the shitlibs were being driven into such paroxyms of dismay wasn’t the only reason why. But on the issue he’s now leaving over—the long-overdue Syria pullout—I think he’s wrong as can be (more on all that coming up). In fact, he seems to be something of an invade-the-world-invite-the-world neocon type, someone all too comfortable with America’s longstanding role as the world’s policeman—perfectly understandable, given his job and the experiences that molded him. I was one for a long time myself, admittedly. But I ain’t no more, and I think my reasons for rethinking that stance are pretty good ones.
To his credit, Mattis has always been very careful to keep his personal politics to himself, even when prodded, which is no more than proper for a career soldier. But whatever your opinion of him, he’s a true Jarhead archetype through and through: a real character in the hallowed old Chesty Puller mode, as well being a total fucking machine when it comes to wonderful quotes. A small sample of the General’s hard-won wisdom:
“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.”
“Find the enemy that wants to end this experiment (in American democracy) and kill every one of them until they’re so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact.”
Lots more here. Even more resoundingly in his favor, the Marines who served with and under him seem to love and revere him, a fact which the wormy Left tried hard to twist, obfuscate, and contradict when he got the SecDef nod. I’m sure you guys all remember how they scuttled and scratched trying to debunk the now-famous Christmas story:
However, The Doctor was able to find out what happened from retired Marine Gen. Charles Krulak, who was commandant when the story took place. Every Christmas during his tenure, Krulak delivered cookies to every Marine duty post around Washington and Quantico, Va.
Back in 1998, he was making his final delivery to Marine Corps Combat Development Command headquarters at Quantico when he asked the Marine on duty who the officer of the day was.
“The young Marine said, ‘Sir, it’s Brigadier General Mattis.’”
Krulak thought the Marine had misunderstood him, so he asked again, but he got the same answer.
“I looked around the duty hut and in the back, there were two cots: One for the officer of the day and one for young Marine. I said, ‘OK, let me cut through all of this: Who was the officer who slept in that bed last night?’
“And the Marine said, ‘Sir, Brigadier General Mattis.’”
At that moment, Mattis walked around the corner.
“So I said to him, ‘Jim, what are you standing the duty for?’ “And he said, ‘Sir, I looked at the duty roster for today and there was a young major who had it who is married and had a family; and so I’m a bachelor, I thought why should the major miss out on the fun of having Christmas with his family, and so I took the duty for him.’”
Never before or since has Krulak run into a general officer standing duty on Christmas Day.
“I think it says volumes about Jim Mattis and his leadership style,” Krulak said. “He did it very unobtrusively. He just took the duty.”
When all’s said and done, whether you consider James Mattis a success or a disappointment as Trump’s Secretary of Defense, I still like the guy myself, and have tremendous respect for him. He is and will remain a Marine’s Marine, a credit to his Corps and country. It’s too bad he’s leaving, but given current circumstances and trends it’s probably the right moment for it, and he does so with his honor and integrity intact. May God bless you, sir, and many thanks for your long and selfless service.