Sunday, December 4, 2016

And pass the ammo

President-elect Donald Trump will nominate Marine Corps legend General James Mattis for Secretary of Defense. The General has been a fount of quotes over the years.  Read some of them for yourself. 

Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.

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

“There are some people who think you have to hate them in order to shoot them. I don’t think you do. It’s just business.”

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

“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 come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f*** with me, I’ll kill you all.”

“PowerPoint makes us stupid.”

'I don't lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.'

I spent 30 years getting ready for that decision that took 30 seconds.

By reading, you learn through others' experiences, generally a better way to do business.

Be the hunter, not the hunted.

It's very hard to live with yourself if you don't stick with your moral code.

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

Thanks to my reading, I have never been caught flat-footed by any situation, never at a loss for how any problem has been addressed. ... It doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead.

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.

Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit.

this shows a commander who has lost his moral balance or watched too many Hollywood movies.” (Mattis on Lieutenant Colonel Allen West. The Lieutenant Colonel was an artillery battalion commander who just happened to fire a handgun right next to the ear of a detainee under interrogation.)

The good General also had a few thoughts on the importance of reading. Here is a letter he wrote on the subject:
The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience (or by your men’s experience), i.e. the hard way. By reading, you learn through others’ experiences, generally a better way to do business, especially in our line of work where the consequences of incompetence are so final for young men.

Thanks to my reading, I have never been caught flat-footed by any situation, never at a loss for how any problem has been addressed (successfully or unsuccessfully) before. It doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead.

With [Task Force] 58, I had w/ me Slim’s book, books about the Russian and British experiences in [Afghanistan], and a couple others. Going into Iraq, “The Siege” (about the Brits’ defeat at Al Kut in WW I) was req’d reading for field grade officers. I also had Slim’s book; reviewed T.E. Lawrence’s “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”; a good book about the life of Gertrude Bell (the Brit archaeologist who virtually founded the modern Iraq state in the aftermath of WW I and the fall of the Ottoman empire); and “From Beirut to Jerusalem”. I also went deeply into Liddell Hart’s book on Sherman, and Fuller’s book on Alexander the Great got a lot of my attention (although I never imagined that my HQ would end up only 500 meters from where he lay in state in Babylon).

Ultimately, a real understanding of history means that we face NOTHING new under the sun.

For all the “4th Generation of War” intellectuals running around today saying that the nature of war has fundamentally changed, the tactics are wholly new, etc, I must respectfully say … “Not really”: Alex the Great would not be in the least bit perplexed by the enemy that we face right now in Iraq, and our leaders going into this fight do their troops a disservice by not studying (studying, vice just reading) the men who have gone before us.

We have been fighting on this planet for 5000 years and we should take advantage of their experience. “Winging it” and filling body bags as we sort out what works reminds us of the moral dictates and the cost of incompetence in our profession. As commanders and staff officers, we are coaches and sentries for our units: how can we coach anything if we don’t know a hell of a lot more than just the [Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures]? What happens when you’re on a dynamic battlefield and things are changing faster than higher [Headquarters] can stay abreast? Do you not adapt because you cannot conceptualize faster than the enemy’s adaptation? (Darwin has a pretty good theory about the outcome for those who cannot adapt to changing circumstance — in the information age things can change rather abruptly and at warp speed, especially the moral high ground which our regimented thinkers cede far too quickly in our recent fights.) And how can you be a sentinel and not have your unit caught flat-footed if you don’t know what the warning signs are — that your unit’s preps are not sufficient for the specifics of a tasking that you have not anticipated?

Perhaps if you are in support functions waiting on the warfighters to spell out the specifics of what you are to do, you can avoid the consequences of not reading. Those who must adapt to overcoming an independent enemy’s will are not allowed that luxury.

This is not new to the USMC approach to warfighting — Going into Kuwait 12 years ago, I read (and reread) Rommel’s Papers (remember “Kampstaffel”?), Montgomery’s book (“Eyes Officers”…), “Grant Takes Command” (need for commanders to get along, “commanders’ relationships” being more important than “command relationships”), and some others.

As a result, the enemy has paid when I had the opportunity to go against them, and I believe that many of my young guys lived because I didn’t waste their lives because I didn’t have the vision in my mind of how to destroy the enemy at least cost to our guys and to the innocents on the battlefields.

Hope this answers your question…. I will cc my ADC in the event he can add to this. He is the only officer I know who has read more than I.

Semper Fi, Mattis

Oorah!

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

General Mattis is one of few people actually qualified for the position he is being nominated but even he will need a waiver. Qualified people are avoiding this administration.

Anonymous said...

Great choice.

Anonymous said...

A lot of folks focus on his "Mad Dog" nickname, but I like the "Warrior Monk." Marine's Marine and beloved by FMF Marines, much to the chagrin of so many career, FitRep chasing POGs, both officer and enlisted.

I hope he gets the waiver and gets the job. I also can't wait to watch him help the new SecNav roll back so many of The Honorable Mr. Mabus' policies. Perhaps Mabus can take his wisdom to some college campus where, frankly, his moronic social experiments belong.

Anonymous said...

Lord how I agree on Power Points. Boring and a waste of paper. Show what you want to talk about and let people take notes.

Anonymous said...

What will he do when President Trump orders him to attack Saturday Night Live. Is he trained for Twitter warfare?

Anonymous said...

Good people like Mattis will not last in this administration.Once he and others figure out that Trump is a incorrigible adolescent he and others will resign before their reputations are ruined.

Anonymous said...

11:34. See below where I fixed your typo.

"Qualified people avoided the Obama administration."

Johnny Weir said...

Guess this is were I start building my fallout shelter. Now, how much concrete do I need between me and radioactive fallout? How, much freeze dried food do I need to substain and individual for a year?

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with 12:52. 49.9% of 25% of eligible voters have elected a total and complete fool. The only outcome that could have been worse would have been electing that corrupt b!+ch.

Anonymous said...

You really have wonder what's going on when PE Trump is breaking with 40 years of foreign policy to get a compliment. What neophyte advised him that this was a good idea?

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to the next 4 years. This will be the first time I have seen a president that was not a politician.

Anonymous said...

2:05, we went 8 years without a foreign policy other than what other countries told our president to do. Maybe it is time we started planning our own foreign policy.

Damn The Potatoes.. said...

Every mother who doesn't want her baby to play football is suddenly in search of a safe space.

Mabus won't be rolling back any plans. He'll be gone by January 15. Thank God and Trump Mabus didn't have time to name a ship "Beyonce Z". Rumblings at the barber shop say he'll be pursuing the priesthood.

Anonymous said...

We shall see who goes down with the Trumptanic....this is better than Dr. PHILL

Anonymous said...

Wow. Cochran supporters are out in force today.

Anonymous said...

Hey I told you they would go blind... the Taiwan thing is just the beginning. I agree with whoever said he did it just so he could get a complement. Vanity will take you down I don't care who you are.

Anonymous said...

Granted, I understand little about the political side of foreign policy. China being 'upset' with Trump for accepting a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan's president made me think of childish behavior....."I won't be your friend if you talk to ______."

Anonymous said...

Willful ignorance to get your judges appointed is going to lead us to war...at best.

Hatred and spite = nose cut of to spite face.

Well done.

Anonymous said...

"Vanity will take you down I don't care who you are."

So; Either Trump is just now becoming vain or your theory is total bullshit. Which is it? Name a president in our history who was NOT vain. It goes with the decision to run.

Anonymous said...

10:11 I have read quite a bit in foreign policy, but am certainly no expert; far from it. However China seems to share Trump's attitude in some ways. PE Trump himself seems to have his own "childish behavior". Most others might not agree but that is my impression.

Anonymous said...

10:11 I have read quite a bit in foreign policy, but am certainly no expert; far from it. However China seems to share Trump's attitude in some ways. PE Trump himself seems to have his own "childish behavior". Most others might not agree but that is my impression.

Anonymous said...

Ben Carson at HUD, this is going to be so over his head. I wonder how he and his business partner are going to figure out how to make money off of this. If Trump needed a token, he should pardon Chris Epps, he's more qualified and can keep his eyes open.

Consequences Result in Elections.. said...

So; While the libbies get their draws twisted over a phone call from Taiwan, the rest of us can recall the apology tour that lasted seven years while their guy gave the finger to Israel.

Did someone (parenthetically) mention judges? Had the other candidate won, this country would have had 90% liberal federal judges instead of the current 30% and this country would circle the bowl with a super majority on the Supremes. That could not have been reversed in the lifetime of anybody over the age of thirty now living.

Anonymous said...

There is no question that General Mattis is a Marine's Marine. I like that he understands the value of knowing his enemy, learning from history, and understanding the terrain and culture of his battlefields. I like that he is plain spoken enough to possibly keep Trump's eyes from glazing over when he tells Trump something.
That said, I also think that having had a civilian military was a strength for us and that we lost a great deal when we went with a career military. There is merit in the civilian time requirement. There is a broader perspective that comes with that time out of uniform that can lend itself to more creative thinking.
Civilian skills and expertise were critical in our successes in WWII and one can make very good arguments that civilian participation in the Israeli military is one of the reasons Israel survives.
And, that out citizens no longer have a " dog" in every fight we undertake has not been good for us. It has led to unrealistic expectations and ill informed opinions that have adversely affected policy.

Anonymous said...

Damn the Potatoes, your barber shop is a poor source of information.

And, quite a few of you need to understand that the Secretary of anything implements policy. They may influence policy if the President is willing to entertain their ideas. The information upon which any Secretary makes decisions comes primarily from career employees in his department and sometimes from those outside his department.
I would remind you that Colin Powell believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and I believe Bush did as well. You all seem to have enough sense not to blame them personally. But, partisan propaganda seems to warp judgement for anyone who drinks any party's toxic Kool Aid.

Anonymous said...

What happened to civilian control of the military? This nomination bothers me.

Anonymous said...

11:17
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Abraham Lincoln
Franklin Pierce
William Henry Harrison
Bush Sr.
Jimmy Carter
Jefferson Davis
James Buchanan
George Washington

Anonymous said...

8:00 --

Mattis is a civilian. Has been since Obama forced him to retire in 2013.

Because he saw Iran and a threat and said so.

Anonymous said...


I agree on the merits of a 'civilian military,' but I would disagree on the accuracy of that label. It was a large standing Army that we were never intended to have, hence the funding authorization required every two years in Article I, Section 8. We were always to have a permanent Navy and Marine Corps as those forces were intended to be constantly projected outward. Says clearly 'provide and maintain a Navy.'

Civilians control the military, that wouldn't change were Mattis to become SecDef. In fact, Mattis is a civilian, he just hasn't been one long enough to satisfy a statutory requirement, not a constitutional one. Right now we have too much of our civilian control coming from K Street and their bought and paid for career officers at the Pentagon. The very thing that President Eisenhower warned us about.

Anonymous said...


Green Beret war hero accuses Trump pick Gen. James Mattis of 'leaving my men to die'
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/green-beret-accuses-gen-mattis-leaving-men-die-article-1.2896433

PittPanther said...

Someone asks for a list of presidents, so you include Jefferson Davis? What the actual F...

Kingfish said...

Sometimes I let them show their not so flattering traits

Anonymous said...

The list provided above, as non-vain presidents, is laughable. Vanity is displayed in many ways. All vain people aren't necessarily robustly arrogant and pompous as are Mr. Trump and President Obama. Mr. Trump, and his arrogant self, is soon to be MY PRESIDENT, thank God.

To suggest Lincoln was not vain is a hoot. Some vanity struts rather quietly while some clatters loudly down the hallway. There is a wide spectrum of vanity. You seem to be confusing one end of that spectrum with modesty and humility. Besides, you're stupid.

Anonymous said...

Pitt I was doing that for the Chris McDaniel supporters on here

Anonymous said...

How about we send Obama packing a little early? He hasn't done much in the time he was president. Trump has already saved more jobs than Obama ever has and he isn't even in office yet. We need to hurry up and get him settled in office so we can start growing as a country. This stagnation of the last 8 years is stinking more each day.
Get Obama out and the white house back in shape before we have a real president move in. Maybe Trump will not need the white house anyway. We can rent it out like the Clintons did.

Anonymous said...

10:17 you are right i'm a moron ain't gonna lie

Anonymous said...

6:01, any fool could run HUD. Just do a 180 from what has been done for past 40 years.

Messick said...

The NY Daily News is nothing more than propaganda. And money-losing propaganda at that.

I'm curious what the Green Beret has to say about the outgoing President's prior appointments and treatment of the military.

Anonymous said...

Wow least we forget, in the last 8 years 15million jobs have been created, have forgotten what the economy was like in 2008. If Trump can keep the ball rolling, that's good. But let's not be hypocrites. Last I checked unemployment was below 5%

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure that you guys will be so embarrassed in 6 months that comments about Comrade Trump will be off limits on this blog.

Kingfish said...

Unemployment rate is not what you use to measure the strength of the economy .

GDP has average only 2.1% under Obama. Very weak. The economy hit the floor in 2008 and 2009 but it hasn't really recovered.

The unemployment rate has improved but the labor participation rate is lower. Suppose you have half a liter in a liter glass. It's half full. Now pour the water into a glass that is instead .75 liters. It is now 2/3 full. I didn't increase the amount of water but the size of the glass changed. Oversimplified but that is what the lower participation rate does to the unemployment rate.

Anonymous said...

@2:44's spin doesn't even deserve a response. The Kenyan's presidency has been an epic failure.

Anonymous said...

It's really going to be interesting in a year or two. One can assume that the goalposts will be moved by then. Trump does it already everyone knows taking to Taiwan was a diplomatic mistake,but every one just looks the other way since he says it should be okay...it would be funny but it's sad to see you going blind already.

Anonymous said...

Pitt-Pantie, yank that he is, does not realize Jefferson Davis was indeed a president. Without arguing the legitimacy of secession with the PA tool, Mr. Davis was president of the separate nation of The Confederate States of America.

I'm trying to decide if 'panther' is the Hilton Shoe-Shine guy or a failed water-meter engineer at Seimens.

Anonymous said...

Point 1. Green Beret account is very focused, that of the grunt on the ground. From my time in Afghanistan running a watch in a one-star command Tac Ops Center, the one sided accounts don't include the perspective of all players. The "fog of war" tends to make things very unclear until well after the event has transpired. 23MAR03, another TOC, this time at Tallil air base Base Ops Center, I received a call to make a net call for all base tenants to send their medics to the on-base hospital, 28th CSH. Found out the next day they were Marines and it was the most one-day casualties treated by a CSH since Vietnam.
Later saw a History Channel show that included the later friendly fire incident at An Nasiriyah. It wasn't until then with internet research and some seven years of time passing that I got a decent picture of what happened in the 2nd MEF AOR. Still unsettled thoughts in many people's minds about that.
One account never gives an adequate picture of combat.

Point 2. I have seen more than once that grizzled old veterans, like Mattis, are more considerate than a politician when it comes to putting our Service Members lives in harm's way.

Anonymous said...

You people gotta be kidding me. The future president of the U.S.A. Can't talk to someone on the phone. It will make China mad.
Piss on China and all you cowards. America home of the free and brave..

Anonymous said...

Yeah let's just throw away decades of foreign policy protocol. If you give PE Trump a compliment then you are a friend, say something negative and he will start a Twitter war. Don't you think that leaders across the globe will exploit this weakness?

Anonymous said...

9:06 am I am aware of the three years Mattis has been a civilian. That is not however the time required for a reason.
If you know anything about how the military and DOD function, maybe you can figure out why the time is longer than three years. The law should have been more specific about what one does in civilian life after retiring in my opinion.
I'm sure he'll get a waiver. If he'd been working for Halliburton or Bechtel, I'd oppose his nomination. I don't.
But, I think some of you need to stop this partisan BS and ask yourselves whether or not some of the precedents being trashed might have some importance and elements , at least, should be fine tuned rather than thrown out.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Trump may mean well, but his good intentions won't keep us from setting such bad precedents that we give away our freedom in the process.

Anonymous said...

7:41,

You realize Marshall was only off active duty for 5 years before becoming SecDef, right? So there is a precedent for a waiver for Mattis...no giving away of freedoms required.

Support for Mattis and support for Trump are not mutually exclusive. It's time for Carter to pack his trash and do the sea bag drag. That's not partisan. That's a fact.

I've a little experience with military and DoD functions. My opinion is that the amount of time separated from service, what they did in the interim, or any other detail about each candidate for cabinet level positions should be considered on a case by case basis. Blind obedience to bureaucratic minutiae is anathema to freedom.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think that leaders across the globe will exploit this weakness?

Weakness? The Kenyan is the epitome of foreign policy weakness. He's the new gold standard for global ineffectiveness.

The damn Chinese made him get off the back of his own plane. Don't lecture us about weakness.

Anonymous said...

Why would you oppose it if he worked for Haliburton or Bechtel? What difference would that make, 7:41?

Do you sit in judgment over what sort of jobs people should take when they retire from the military, or for that matter, PERS or anywhere else. It's none of your damned business, nor mine.

Anonymous said...

9:37
It's called an opinion.
Now, I have no idea who either of you might be. It is fine if you disagree. However, for the freedoms of this country, even if you don't have a thought on the matter, I am only suggesting that you don't advocate the denial of freedom of spoken ideas or opinions.

Tabulate This said...

2:44 has probably forgotten that when Obama snatched the Census Bureau under his wing in the White House, they counted the same people over and over and over and over when they were called in as part time census takers. That's just one example among hundreds of how this regime monkeyed with the numbers. He also counted as 'new hires' the mystery number of jobs his boys claimed he SAVED. And lets not forget the ACORN numbers. And every person who got his ass laid off who managed to find part time work was counted as a new hire. The man's stats are as bogus as his resume.

Anonymous said...

One reason , in answer to your question @9:37 AM, as to whether it would "matter" whether Mattis worked for Halliburton or Bechtel, for instance, would be grave potential for conflict of interests. Both are wealthy, powerful and influential conglomerates who have long histories with employment by the U.S. Military complex. The real potential for the misdirection of billions of your dollars is no small matter.

Nothing against a waiver for Mattis or whomever. It is certainly a good idea to have open hearings on the areas the do not conflict with U.S. Security interests.

Anonymous said...

You are a little too late. The Pentagon has already misdirected over $125 billion. Don't tell anyone, they are trying to keep it quite. After all no one will miss the money. It is only tax payers money.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish will you protect me from the lynch mob if I commment

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