Mattis as Defense Secretary: What it Means for Us, For the Military, and For Trump by Thomas Ricks, Foreign Policy
I've known and admired General James Mattis (USMC, ret.) for years, and have written about him in a couple of books and in this blog. A few years ago, after Mattis was given the bum's rush into retirement by the Barack Obama administration, I described him as "a tough-minded realist, someone who'd rather have tea with you than shoot you, but is happy to end the conversation either way." Or, as he instructed his Marines in Iraq, "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."
Another memorable comment of his in Iraq, from my book Fiasco, was, "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."
By contrast, I think President-elect Donald Trump will be a historic shambles, the Herbert Hoover of the 21st century. So it was with some surprise that I read Sunday morning that Mattis has become the frontrunner to become defense secretary. Trump tweeted Sunday morning that, "General James 'Mad Dog" Mattis, who is being considered for Secretary of Defense, was very impressive yesterday. A true General's General!"
So, if Mattis is picked, how is his tenure running the Defense Department likely to go? ...