Mattis’s Pyrrhic Personnel War by Kimberley A. Strassel, Wall Street Journal
Every military tactician fears the Pyrrhic victory—winning a battle but losing the war. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis might want to brush up on his Plutarch, as he continues to fight a one-man personnel skirmish.
President Trump promised to rebuild our hollowed-out military, a cause as urgent as any domestic priority. Years of Obama budget cuts and neglect slashed force sizes and provoked a readiness crisis. Over half the Navy’s aircraft are grounded. Of 58 Army brigade combat teams, only three are ready to immediately join a fight. The Air Force is short pilots and aircraft maintenance workers.
Mr. Trump chose a man singularly gifted to take on such a huge challenge. “Mad Dog” Mattis is a highly intelligent and revered Marine, whose time on the battlefield has made him intimately familiar with the needs of a fighting force. He’s a steely-eyed warrior who’ll fight for the rebuild mission, and who is willing to speak truth to his boss and Congress about what it will require. That is, if he will stand down long enough to get the project started.
Because right now, Mr. Mattis is fighting alone in the Pentagon, a situation of his own design…