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Trump Selects Retired Marine Gen."Mad-Dog" Mattis for Secretary of Defense






By Dan Lamothe

December 01, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "WP" - President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis to be secretary of defense, according to people familiar with the decision, nominating a former senior military officer who led operations across the Middle East to run the Pentagon less than four years after he hung up his uniform.

To take the job, Mattis will need Congress to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law stating that defense secretaries must not have been on active duty in the previous seven years. Congress has granted a similar exception just once, when Gen. George C. Marshall was appointed to the job in 1950.

An announcement is likely by early next week, according to the people familiar with the choice.

Mattis, 66, retired as the chief of U.S. Central Command in spring 2013 after serving more than four decades in the Marine Corps. He is known as one of the most influential military leaders of his generation, serving as a strategic thinker while occasionally drawing rebukes for his aggressive talk. Since retiring, he has served as a consultant and as a visiting fellow with the Hoover Institution, a think tank at Stanford University.

Like Trump, Mattis favors a tougher stance against U.S. adversaries abroad, especially Iran. The general, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in April, said that while security discussions often focus on terrorist groups such as the Islamic State or al-Qaeda, the Iranian regime is “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East.”

Mattis said the next president “is going to inherit a mess” and argued that the nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration last year may slow Iran’s ambitions to get a nuclear weapon but won’t stop them.

“In terms of strengthening America’s global standing among European and Mideastern nations alike, the sense is that the America has become somewhat irrelevant in the Middle East, and we certainly have the least influence in 40 years,” Mattis said.

But Mattis may break with Trump’s practice of calling out allies for not doing enough to build stability. In the same event, Mattis said he was troubled by President Obama’s remarks in a March interview with The Atlantic that there were “free riders” accepting U.S. help without reciprocating. He added that he read the Atlantic story after printing it out, and briefly thought he had accidentally mixed it with a news clip that highlighted Trump’s views.

“The President-elect is smart to think about putting someone as respected as Jim Mattis in this role,” said a former senior Pentagon official. “He’s a warrior, scholar, and straight shooter — literally and figuratively. He speaks truth to everyone, and would certainly speak truth to this new commander in chief.”

But the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss Trump’s personnel choices, said, “If there’s any concern at all, it’s the principle of civilian control over the military. This role was never intended to be a kind of Joint Chiefs of Staff on steroids, and that’s the biggest single risk tied to Mattis. For Mattis, the biggest risk for him personally is that he will have a national security adviser in the form of Mike Flynn whose management style and extreme views may arch Mattis’ eyebrows and cause conflict over time. It’s no fun to be secretary of defense if you have to constantly feud with the White House.”

Mattis served from November 2007 to August 2010 as the supreme allied commander of transformation for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in which he focused on improving the military effectiveness of allies. Trump called NATO “obsolete” earlier this year, before saying later that he was “all for NATO,” but wanted all members to spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense, a NATO goal.

Mattis will join the Trump administration after calls by some conservatives for him to join the presidential race in a long-shot independent bid aimed at derailing Trump’s ascent this spring. The general declined to do so, saying he didn’t understand the speculation.

Mattis, whose nicknames include “Mad Dog” and the “Warrior Monk,” has had a leading hand in some of the U.S. military’s most significant operations in the last 20 years. As a one-star general, he led an amphibious task force of Marines that carried out a November 2001 raid in helicopters on Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, giving the Pentagon a new foothold against the Taliban after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Using the call sign “Chaos,” he commanded a division of Marines during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and returned there the following year to lead Marines in bloody street fighting in the city of Fallujah.

Mattis continued to rise through the ranks and establish his credentials as a military thinker, co-authoring the U.S. military’s new counterinsurgency manual with then-Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus while Mattis was a three-star general at Quantico, Va.

He was considered a leading contender to become commandant of the Marine Corps in 2010, but was bypassed in favor of Gen. James F. Amos. Instead, Mattis replaced Petraeus as the chief of Central Command, overseeing U.S. military operations across the Middle East.

Even though Central Command didn’t encompass Israel, Gen. Mattis made a concerted effort to reach out to his Israeli military counterparts, according to Steven Simon, who worked with Gen. Mattis when he served on Obama’s National Security Council.

Simon, who now teaches at Amherst College, said Mattis made frequent stops in Israel during trips to the region, part of an effort to encourage the Jewish State and its Arab neighbors to work together to counter Iranian influence. “They respected Mattis because they saw him as a straight shooter and a good listener,” said Simon of the Israelis and Arabs.

The general retired from that position about five months earlier than expected in 2013, prompting speculation that he was forced out after clashing with some in the Obama administration on Iran policy. U.S. officials denied that was the case at the time, and Mattis declined to comment.

Mattis occasionally has come under scrutiny for impolitic remarks. Most notably, he said in 2005 during a panel discussion in San Diego that “it’s fun to shoot some people” and “I like brawling,” drawing criticism from then-Marine Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee. But Hagee also later backed Mattis, saying the general often spoke with candor to reflect the horrors of war. Other supporters noted that he often stressed to his own troops that it was important to treat civilians in a combat zone with care.

It’s unclear whether the legislation required to make Mattis Pentagon chief will be difficult to obtain from Congress. The 1947 national security law said that any general must wait 10 years from leaving active duty before becoming defense secretary. An exception was granted on a one-time basis for Marshall, with lawmakers saying in special legislation at the time that it is “sense of the Congress that after General Marshall leaves the office of Secretary of Defense, no additional appointments of military men to that office shall be approved.”

The 10-year period was reduced to seven years in 2008 for several senior civilian defense positions, including defense secretary.

Philip Rucker, Adam Entous and Missy Ryan contributed to this report.

Trump Picks Retired Marine General "Mad-Dog" Mattis As Secretary Of Defense

By Tyler Durden

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen 66-year-old retired Marine General James N. "Mad-Dog" Mattis to be secretary of defense, according to The Washington Post.

An announcement is likely by early next week, according to the people familiar with the decision. Mattis declined to comment. Spokespersons for Trump's transition team did not respond to requests for comment.

Mattis, 66, retired as the chief of U.S. Central Command in spring 2013 after serving more than four decades in the Marine Corps. He is known as one of the most influential military leaders of his generation, serving as a strategic thinker while occasionally drawing rebukes for his aggressive talk. Since retiring, he has served as a consultant and as a visiting fellow with the Hoover Institution, a think tank at Stanford University.

Mattis has also gotten cheers from veterans and Trump supporters online, in the form of celebratory memes dubbing him the Patron Saint of Chaos (Chaos was Mattis’s call-sign in Iraq and Afghanistan), praising his lethal “double knife hands,” and saying that he “Puts the Laughter in Manslaughter.”


Mattis gets the nod ahead of a notable group who were up for the top role..
* David Petraeus, former CIA director and retired Army general
* Tom Cotton, Republican U.S. senator from Arkansas
* Jon Kyl, former Republican U.S. senator from Arizona
* Duncan Hunter, Republican U.S. representative from California and early Trump supporter, member of the House Armed Services Committee
* Jim Talent, former Republican U.S. senator from Missouri who was on the Senate Armed Services Committee
* Rick Perry, former Republican Texas governor
* Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser under President George W. Bush

His bio - as one would expect - is impressive...(apart from the Theranos aspect)(via The Intercept)


Mattis is exactly what Trump is not, a soldier-scholar who knows something of the wider world. 

Now 66 years old, Mattis was born in Walla Walla, Washington. His lifelong bachelordom is the source of one of his many nicknames: “warrior-monk.” He served in every major U.S. Middle Eastern conflict from the first Iraq War on. In 2001, as a one-star general, he led 4,000 Marines in a search for Osama bin Laden near the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. In 2004, as a two-star, he led a Marine division into the second battle for Fallujah. He went on to lead combatant commands at the Pentagon and NATO, culminating in two years as the head of Central Command under President Barack Obama, reportedly leaving after disagreeing with Obama’s policy on Iran.



Shortly before his departure, Mattis appears to have weighed in with the Pentagon on behalf of Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes’s troubled biotech firm. He later joined the company’s board. Should Trump nominate Mattis, emails between Mattis and Holmesare likely to come up during his Senate confirmation hearing.

But here are 16 quotes (via FreeBeacon) to get a better feel for "mad-dog"...
1. “I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.”



AP
2. “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.”

3. “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.”

4. “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.”



Flickr
5. “Marines don’t know how to spell the word defeat.”

6. “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

7. “The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.”

8. “You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”



Gen. Mattis in 2006 / Flickr
9. “There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”

10. “No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.”

11. “There is nothing better than getting shot at and missed. It’s really great.”

12. “You cannot allow any of your people to avoid the brutal facts. If they start living in a dream world, it’s going to be bad.”



Gen. Mattis and Gen. Dempsey / Flickr
13. “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. Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.”

(CNN)
14. “I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.”

15. “Demonstrate to the world there is ‘No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy’ than a U.S. Marine.”

16. “Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit”




The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Information Clearing House editorial policy.




http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45957.htm


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