“Full transcript: Defense Secretary James Mattis’ interview with The Islander”

Secretary Mattis responds to an interview request from a high-school student. The interview is worth reading and more informative than much of what appears in the adult press.

(via Lex)

5 thoughts on ““Full transcript: Defense Secretary James Mattis’ interview with The Islander””

  1. “I believe it was July of 2013 and it’s written by the former President Emeritus of Dartmouth University Jim Wright. He said, “what did we learn from the Korean war?” If you look at the wars from probably Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, dare I say Afghanistan, every time we go into a war and we don’t figure out what the political end state is, we get into wars and we don’t know how to end them. Then you’ve got a real problem.”

    Thanks to Truman, the architect of our legacy of losing and the father of our tradition of multinational ignominy. If we learn one thing from the era it should be that it’s possible for one bitter incompetent to stumble through the backdoor into the halls of power and ruin the country for generations.

  2. It’s refreshing to read an interview where the interviewer isn’t a preening buffoon trying to make himself the star of the show, who realizes that the interviewee is in fact the one who should be the focus. Hopefully the kid will always stay just like he is today, and not get himself ruined by going to journalism school. Heck, if I owned a newspaper I’d hire him today, he shows great initiative and curiosity.

  3. I believe Mattis is wrong about the primary lesson to be learned from our conflicts since the Korea War.. There was much debate about what we were intending as an end state in WW II. Churchill helped us figure that out as we fought.

    What we do need to learn from our fighting since WW II is that you don’t grant your adversary safe sanctuary and external resupply. This is a variation on the entire risk averse rules of engagement gone wild. I’m a supporter of the Geneva Convention, but the other side has to play too. Collateral damage will happen and it can be tragic. The other side of that coin is our soldiers coming home maimed or dead based on our own hyper-political rules of engagement. No way do I agree with having JAG officers at battalion level clearing calls for fire support or close air support during battle.

    Being sucked in by launching a conflict without an achievable and worthy goal is certainly a prescription for creating a situation that will result in further problems from your adversary, Witness Korea and the first gulf war. Bush the First picked a limited and thus achievable goal, but left the offender in power and largely intact. We needed to own Hussein after that war. If we had put him on a leash, I believe much nastiness could have been avoided later.

    I personally found Mattis’ responses very politically correct in the soft power vein. NATO, Russia and the Arabs are playing us. It seems to me we are taking our cues from them rather than leading. How stupid to fight ISIS and not Assad when they both are fighting the forces we are allied with. A three-way fight, but we only fight one? Now that’s going to work out- for Russia.

    Was Mad Dog a moniker created out of wishful thinking.


  4. “Was Mad Dog a moniker created out of wishful thinking.”

    Well, he has some great quotes (“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.”), but of course there is no longer the will to actually do any of those sorts of things, for better and for worse.

    “What we do need to learn from our fighting since WW II is that you don’t grant your adversary safe sanctuary and external resupply.”
    If you want to win, you don’t stop killing the other guy until he begs you to stop. From top to bottom, the enemy society needs to acknowledge it’s been beaten. Else the war isn’t actually over. Again, for better and for worse, we don’t do that anymore. I suspect that will change when the first American city gets nuked.

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