Mattis leaving early?

| January 21, 2013

Several of you sent me links to the news that General James Mattis may be taking leave of his duties as commander of Central Command at the request of the President, or his functionaries. Thomas Ricks broke the news in his column at Foreign Policy.

Why the hurry? Pentagon insiders say that he rubbed civilian officials the wrong way — not because he went all “mad dog,” which is his public image, and the view at the White House, but rather because he pushed the civilians so hard on considering the second- and third-order consequences of military action against Iran. Some of those questions apparently were uncomfortable. Like, what do you do with Iran once the nuclear issue is resolved and it remains a foe? What do you do if Iran then develops conventional capabilities that could make it hazardous for U.S. Navy ships to operate in the Persian Gulf? He kept saying, “And then what?”

It’s no secret that General Mattis is popular among his troops. I’ve also heard that he’s an occasional fan of The Duffel Blog. But it looks like his outspoken criticism of the way the US is handling their foreign policy will be his undoing. He is known for saying things like “…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…” and “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.”

Ricks says about Mattis; ” I’d call him a tough-minded realist, someone who’d rather have tea with you than shoot you, but is happy to end the conversation either way.” Lord knows we can’t have a general who think that war-fighting is part of his job.

It’s going to be a long four years.

Category: Barack Obama/Joe Biden, Military issues

Comments (30)

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  1. FltMedic says:

    I think you mean, “It’s going to be a longer 4 years than the last”.

  2. NHSparky says:

    On the good side, it’s comforting to know that we in fact DO have generals/admirals who ask the questions that SHOULD in fact be asked (many of which weren’t asked prior to going into Iraq/Afghanistan or elsewhere, IMO.)

    On the bad side, it’s asking questions like that which become career limiting, even when they’re valid ones.


  3. UpNorth says:

    Yeah, the Preezy certainly wouldn’t want to surround himself with yes-men and ass-kissers. Oh, wait. Never mind.

  4. FatCircles0311 says:

    If true this is kind of funny because it’s exactly what enlisted hate when there are “questions” regarding anything in the Marines. The “what ifs” and “then what” questions that always occur are specifically mentioned prior to instructor as a warning on not what to ask after. The reason for this is it can just go on forever and basically Marines move forward and adapt.

    Maybe it’s different outside of grunt units cause everybody knows grunts are teh dumbz. 🙂

  5. NHSparky says:

    Fat, I’m sure you’re aware that even grunts aren’t always teh dumbz, but there is a bit of difference between a boot LCPL and a 35-year 4-star general. Frankly, he gets PAID to ask the “what if?” questions, and if the civilians who are supposed to give the answers instead give the standard Pentagon salute (shrug shoulders, smack forehead) then he needs to hold their feet to the fire until they DO come up with their answers, even if he doesn’t necessarily like them.

    Yeah, I know, we work for the civilians, not the other way around, but any officer, hell, any LEADER, worth two shits will know the risks as much as possible going in and not put his men/women unnecessarily in harm’s way.

    Which is why I miss guys like General Mattis.

  6. warriors have a hard time working with pussies.

  7. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    “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.”

    Any general who says stuff like that is a keeper. Funny, that line is the basis for many lefties to call him all sorts of bad names and want him gone.

  8. obsidian says:

    No War is over till you or your enemy says it’s over, it is a bi-partisan agreement between foes to end a war no matter who won or lost.
    If the enemy decides the war ain’t over yet, then your war ain’t over.
    The only way to get around this is to surrender to your enemies, destroy your Armies, Navy and Air Force and the personnel that operate them. Then to show good faith you destroy your nations ability to fight back, engage in successful business eradication to destroy the economy and never study war no more.
    Then…you confiscate private citizens arms and start a state sponsored religion.
    At that time these folks will begin with the Jews to please the enemies plans.
    Kinda what Obama’s democrats are doing isn’t it?

  9. Jacobite says:

    It’s not going to be a long 4 years, it’s gonna be a horrid 4 years. 🙁

  10. bman says:

    Kind of like Turkey and Egypt.

  11. Devtun says:

    GEN Lloyd Austin, the current Army Vice Chief has been nominated to succeed Gen Mattis as CENTCOM head honcho. Is considered a routine command rotation. Gen Mattis is on his second 4 star assignment and he is getting close to the 64 yr old retirement ceiling (can be extended by the POTUS).

    No 4 star job openings for Mattis, so its time to retire, unless BO wants to sack GEN Dempsey as CJCS or Gen Amos as CMC and nominate Mattis for one of those positions…not likely. Its been a great 40+ yrs…

  12. USMCE8Ret says:

    If General Mattis is asking such things to his staff, then that tells me they’re not working to their full potential and he’s holding them accountable for it – and rightly so.

    He asks those questions because they’ll have to be answered one day. If he gets called to answer them, he wants to have answers to give. Somehow, the Pentagon and WH looses that sense in the mire of politics they get caught up in, and knows his job ain’t a popularity contest.

    You may all recall that once, during a press conference in San Diego, he said: “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 a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling.”

  13. NHSparky says:

    And remember how up in arms (so to speak) the lefties got about that one, MSGT?

  14. DaveO says:

    #11 Devtun: This is Mattis’s 3rd 4-star assignment: JFCOM, Commandant, and CENTCOM.

    It will be good for Mattis to retire while he still has a great reputation. We seem to keep losing FOGO to biology.

  15. Mud says:

    I fondly remember Mattis ordering “fixed bayonets” on our first foray into Fallujah in 2004. It still gives me a stiffy.

  16. Just Plain Jason says:

    Like I say anyone who has a pair this administration wants to get rid of.

  17. Just an Old Dog says:

    He was a Colonel commanding 7th Marines in 95′. My battalion was doing a range 501 Exercise ( basically each company was taking turns doing a life fire assault on a fortified position) Colonel Mattis came to one of the Company Commander’s Briefs to the platoon commanders. The guy had a pair of desert goggles with “Trigga Happy bitch killa” written on the strap. I’m sure he got them from supply with that already written on it by some Lance Corporal who turned it in. The fact that he simply wore it without making a full proved he really didnt give a shit about petty things.

  18. Retired One Star says:

    From the time one becomes a flag officer he must be prepared
    to retire immediately. If he gets promoted he beat the odds,
    because if he did his job he has to ask questions. Those will be the same questions he will be asked if an operation
    ends and everything doesn’t quite work out the way it was
    expected. If he doesn’t have the answers, he will have to retire anyway.

  19. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    Dedication to mission, hard questions? No wonder he’s not a good fit for the crowd at 1600….

  20. Jacobite says:

    @ #6

    Ain’t that the truth!!

  21. USMCE8Ret says:

    @17 – Yeah, he’s like that. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if he picked them out himself. On another note, when he was the Division CG during the invasion of Iraq, we sat through a MEF Current Ops brief that included a few more PwrPt slides than required. (The Major was briefing every element of the slide, which was taking up quite a bit of time). He interrupted the Major giving the brief, asking “Major? Most of us in this room are pretty smart. Can you spare us the f-cking slides and get one with it? We can read.”

    Some people had to walk out of the room to laugh at that one.

  22. Old Trooper says:

    Gen. Mattis is a warrior and from the way it sounds, he doesn’t brook any bullshit, either.

  23. GDContractor says:

    @21 – “You see, a pimp’s love is very different from that of a square.”

  24. Devtun says:

    @14 DaveO

    Jim Mattis was never CMC…not sure if thats what you were referring to.

  25. DaveO says:

    #24: Devtun – I’m wrong. Thoughtb he had a 4-star billet between JFCOM and CENTCOM.

  26. USMCE8Ret says:

    @13 – Yeah, I remember the media responded to that one. I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall to hear that conversation between him and the Commandant when he was given a “talking to”.

  27. CSE CSC says:

    @23: GDContractor, outstanding reference. Made me laugh and made my day.

    I love that movie, but it’s sad to see the real world heading in that direction at breakneck speed.

  28. Mr Wolf, non-Esq. says:

    As one who has had to answer M4’s queries and questions, and stand and defend them: he’s the real deal. NOTHING is superfluous about what he asks of you, or what he expects as an answer. He is GENUINE. And respected by every single person in the command. He’s painfully smart- if you are not ready for him, he’ll eat you alive- and deservedly so. He’s well-read; and he expects us to be too.

    This is just Ricks at his usual dick-ness. His book on Iraq read the same way- he was just being a dick.

  29. WOTN says:

    In a very short period of time, a number of flag officers and key leaders have seen their careers come to an end. At least 8 since 9/11/2012’s attacks on Benghazi Consulate and Cairo Embassy.

    This has led to speculations and rumors, including one purportedly by Russian Intelligence that Obama feared a coup. While a military coup is immensely remote, the explainations into why these senior officers are being shown the door, and the timing of it raise questions.

    Congress needs to call these leaders in to testify. If there is such widespread incompetence and dereliction, something needs to be done. If there is executive malfeasance, something needs to be done. But the American People deserve to know the Truth: