General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

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General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

Postby pjbogart » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:25 pm

So it's no big secret that President Trump's decision to abruptly remove all troops from Syria is unpopular, particularly with defense hawks within his own party, but Mattis barely tries to hide his contempt for Trump in his resignation letter:

Dear Mr. President:

I have been privileged to serve as our country’s 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.

I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance. Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong US global influence.

One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies. Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world. Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances. NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America. The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.

Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model—gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions—to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.

My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.

Because you have the right to a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position. The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February. Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.

I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensures the needs and interests of the 2.15 million Service Members and 732,079 DoD civilians receive undistracted attention of the Department at all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock mission to protect the American people.

I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.

James N. Mattis


Notice that at no point in the letter, particularly in the first and last sentences, does Mattis thank the President for the opportunity to serve the Administration. He carefully dances around any unintended respect, praising the troops and civil servants within the DOD but never the President or any member of his administration. Mattis talks about the importance of allies, the importance of respect and the importance of unity against a common threat. All thinly veiled rebukes of President Trump's caustic diplomacy.

General James Mattis is no icon of progressivism (though very few military leaders are)... he was fired rather unceremoniously by President Obama. But he's a respected military leader by members of both parties. His abrupt resignation after Trump's decision to pull out of Syria has a lot of rough edges that need to be honed. Does Mattis simply disagree with Trump's decision or is he concerned that a President of the United States is bowing to pressure from a Kremlin critical of our involvement in Syria? Putin, on cue, praised Trump's decision and that should give Democrats AND Republicans pause over where Trump's loyalties lie. I'm certainly not suggesting that Trump favors Russia over the United States, but he might favor personal gain over the United States. And, you know, that whole "collusion" thing and concern that Putin has undue leverage over The President of the United States.

I think this is a big deal. We'll see how it plays out, but I suspect even Republicans won't let this one completely slide.

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Re: General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

Postby Polka_Tulk » Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:35 am

His departing letter shows us what a neocon warlover he really was. The nature of the coverage by the poodle press reminds me of the perverse praises that McCain received. The more the press sheds tears over other imperialists in the future, the better for everyone. I say less politely than Vladimir Putin did yesterday, no?

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Re: General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

Postby nonyuppie » Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:24 am

Since he appears to be resigning in response to one of the few good things Trump has ever done, good riddance.

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Re: General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:51 am

Turkey will be happy, as they will now be free to wipe out the Kurds in Syria.

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Re: General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

Postby nonyuppie » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:21 am

The Turks and Kurds have been going at it for so long, the U.S. couldn't have made much of a difference unless they were willing to stay there permanently or have a serious war with Turkey, a NATO ally.

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Re: General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

Postby gozer » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:28 am

nonyuppie wrote:Since he appears to be resigning in response to one of the few good things Trump has ever done, good riddance.


ja, him and kelly both . . . jesus christ kelly was a vicious son of a bitch . . .

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Re: General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

Postby gozer » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:37 am

how likely is it that had trump escalated the syrian and afghan clusterfucks that senator schumer et al would have had the same kind of press conference denouncing this that and the other?

damned if one does, damned if one doesn't -- why is schumer putting so much effort into gaslighting trump when everyone knows the potus doesn't give a fuck what his detractors think and public opinion for and against the administration is pretty well ossified? is this how he entertains himself when the senate is not in session?

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Re: General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

Postby Weather Bob » Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:17 pm

Unlike most of what Trump says and does, this decision (to withdraw troops from Syria) is at least-semi-positive. But it was made in the worst possible way and as a result will probably turn out badly for a lot of innocent people.

The good: after too many years, we'll be bringing our troops home from Syria, and ending what was starting to feel like a permanent entanglement.

The bad: Trump made this decision spontaneously in the middle of a phone call with Turkey's president Erdogan. THAT IS NOT HOW NATIONAL SECURITY DECISIONS SHOULD BE MADE. Turkey's interests in this matter are not aligned with the US's interests and it's appalling that he blurted out this announcement right after the phone call with no consultation or consideration.

And that brings us to this:

nonyuppie wrote:The Turks and Kurds have been going at it for so long, the U.S. couldn't have made much of a difference unless they were willing to stay there permanently or have a serious war with Turkey, a NATO ally.


The existing US contingent in Syria mainly serves as implicit protection for the Kurds, preventing (simply by their presence) Turkey from marching in and wiping them out. Once we are gone, that inhibition will disappear. You're right that keeping US personnel stationed in the Syrian Kurdish communities as sort of "human shields" could never be a long-term solution. Now, though, there won't be any long-term solution, or at least any that includes a happy future for Syria's Kurdish minority; Turkey is champing at the bit to move across the Euphrates and kill them all ("bury them in their ditches").

It's especially frustrating because the YPG/YPJ are the closest thing to "good guys" that exists anywhere in that neighborhood.

So ... it's good that the US may be able to get out of Syria. It's appalling how that decision was made, and the resulting lack of planning and preparation will make a difficult situation much worse. And in particular, it's probably going to go really badly for the Kurds, and we should have done a lot more to avoid that outcome before making this announcement.

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Re: General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

Postby jman111 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:27 pm

The Kurds should have expected another betrayal, just as governmental employees should expect to work without pay. 'Merica!

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Re: General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

Postby IU2Bmanoletters » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:59 pm

Good riddance Mad Mattis. Hopefully, I'll be able to make the same salutation to the rest of the Trumpty Dumpties, before TOO long. If this US withdrawal from Syria is the genuine article... well, I always hate it when Trump does the right thing.
"Don’t Hold Your Breath on US Troop Withdrawal from Syria:"
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/12/19/d ... rom-syria/

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Re: General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

Postby gargantua » Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:56 pm

IU2Bmanoletters wrote:Good riddance Mad Mattis. Hopefully, I'll be able to make the same salutation to the rest of the Trumpty Dumpties, before TOO long. If this US withdrawal from Syria is the genuine article... well, I always hate it when Trump does the right thing.
"Don’t Hold Your Breath on US Troop Withdrawal from Syria:"
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/12/19/d ... rom-syria/

I understand your sentiment. But still, if, when the walls are closing in and the manchild president faces utter failure. He decides to push the button down. Mattis wouldn't obey. I hope for all of our sakes whoever takes over wouldn't either.

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Re: General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

Postby IU2Bmanoletters » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:38 pm

Are you sure he'd exercise such restraint, Garg? Are you SURE?
“'Mad Dog' Mattis was famous for quipping, 'It’s fun to shoot some people.' It remains a supreme irony that Mattis was widely considered the only 'adult in the room' in the Trump administration, argues Ray McGovern."
"Send the Mad Dog to the Corporate Kennel:"
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/12/21/s ... te-kennel/

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Re: General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

Postby gozer » Sat Dec 22, 2018 6:08 pm

since the third-largest piece of kurdistan is in iran, i suppose there is always the possibility of tehran using the kurds as a lever against both turkey and iraq and hizbullah could do the same thing with the assyrians and yazidis, and probably a good fraction of whatever christians remain in the area, with hizbullah's christian outreach now going into its fourth year . . .

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Re: General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

Postby Cadfael » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:57 pm

I've been trying to wrap my mind around this. On the one hand, it's Mad Dog Mattis. There's cartoons about US Marines holding Wiccan ceremonies trying to get him back. On the other hand, even HE can't put up with Trump. Then the Atlantic runs an article entitled You Can't Serve Both Trump and America

And that put it into perspective. Whatever else you say about Mattis, I now believe he thinks he's supposed to serve the the country. And under Trump, he can't.

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Re: General Mattis Offers Resignation as Secretary of Defense

Postby snoqueen » Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:34 pm

Thanks for that link. He really puts Mattis/Trump in perspective. I hope it gets widely circulated, because I believe we are at a tipping point where even some of the mainstream Rs are asking themselves whom they serve.


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