Saturday, January 21, 2017

SecDef Mattis!

Amongst all the dubious appointments made by the 45th POTUS there was a single nominee that bizarrely made absolutely perfect sense - retired United States Marine Corps General James Norman Mattis to be the 26th Secretary of Defense.

Mattis is both a Marine's Marine and a general's general. Some in our community were worried that he didn't even own civilian clothes and still wore the uniform after retirement but when he showed up to meet the president elect, those ideas were assuaged to the degree that it's likely he only wears uniform items under his mufti.

Mattis has an almost cult following in the USMC and the military in general. His name is spoken alongside Marine leaders John A. Lejeune, Smedley Butler and "Chesty" Puller not so much for raw heroism or transformation but for being a keen motivator as well as demonstrating that intellect is just as formidable a weapon as a rifle when used by someone with the wisdom to know when to use which weapon. "Engage your brain before you engage your weapon," he is quoted as saying.

But Mattis is quoted for many many other things. The media dubbed him "Mad Dog" due to the perceived controversial opinions, stories and comment attributed to him over the years including an admission that he loved killing - "It’s fun to shoot some people.", but often the essence of the quote is truncated leaving out: "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," which obviously makes him a feminist standing up for women's rights, albeit by shooting people but the ends justify the means making it OK.

Rather the "Warrior Monk" than a "Mad Dog", Mattis' knowledge of military doctrine and history is formidable with a personal library once holding some 7000 volumes. He will think on an issue before acting and isn't afraid to stand up to his superiors - already in fact there were reports that the new SecDef and the new POTUS have different views on NATO and it will be interesting to see the resulting action from that. Additionally Mattis regards the intelligence services on equal footing with the military, even indicating so in his very first message to his department earlier following being sworn in:

Change is certainly upon us, but as least this is proof that it won't all be bad.

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