Risk of Unleashing ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis

Exclusive: Despite a constructive meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at the G-20, Official Washington’s hawks still hold a strong hand, in part, because Trump has ceded broad power to the military, says David Marks.

By David Marks

During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump boasted that he would “bomb the hell out of ISIS,” but he also suggested a reversal of the “regime change” strategies of his recent predecessors. So, some peace voters thought Trump might actually be preferable to Hillary Clinton, who often came across as the more hawkish candidate.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis meets with troops stationed at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, April 21, 2017. (DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)

However, in Trump’s near-half-year in office, he has slid more into line with the war hawks both by continuing to beat his chest over his own application of military force and by shifting control over many attack decisions to military field commanders and the Pentagon high command.

In mid-April, after a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan, President Trump explained his thinking as he reveled in the first use of the massive “mother of all bombs” that was dropped on an Islamic State target in Afghanistan.

Trump said, “What I do is I authorize my military, we have the greatest military in the world, and they’ve done the job, as usual. We have given them total authorization, and that’s what they’re doing. Frankly, that’s why they’ve been so successful lately. If you look at what’s happened over the last eight weeks and compare that really to what has happened over the last eight years, you’ll see there is a tremendous difference.”

That bombing in Afghanistan followed Trump’s order to fire 59 Tomahawk missiles aimed at a Syrian government airfield that he alleged to be the launch point for an April 4 chemical weapons attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun.

Besides the missile strike – for which Trump got no authorization from either Congress or the United Nations Security Council – U.S. warplanes bombed pro-government forces inside Syria for allegedly getting too close to U.S.-backed rebels and shot down a Syrian plane for the same reason. These attacks against Syrian government targets represented an escalation of U.S. participation in the six-year-old conflict. President Obama had limited direct U.S. attacks against ISIS positions inside Syria.

Meanwhile, the number of U.S. military personnel in the Middle East has been slowly but surely rising since Trump took office. Yet, these actions have not evoked much protest from the public or Congress and have even been praised by many as a sign of strength by Trump.

The Pentagon’s ‘Mad Dog’

Trump’s Secretary of Defense James Mattis, nicknamed “Mad Dog” from his days a Marine general, has a unique relationship with Trump. He reportedly dines alone frequently with the President and has served as the point man for those acquiring “total authorization” to launch attacks. Due to his combination of access to Trump and Trump’s readiness to cede decisions to the Pentagon, Mattis has an unprecedented ability as Secretary of Defense to elevate the U.S. military’s role in world affairs.

The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Defense Department, as viewed with the Potomac River and Washington, D.C., in the background. (Defense Department photo)

Although Mattis intentionally limits his contact with the public and the press, some of his past statements reveal his mindset. In Iraq in 2003, Mattis coached arriving Marines, “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” And in 2005, the man who has been unleashed by the President said, “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’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.”

The man who likes “brawling” is also the first Secretary of Defense since George Marshall in 1947 confirmed with a waiver of the National Security Act. By law, members of the armed forces must have a seven-year waiting period before becoming Defense Secretary. The reason for the legislation was to respect civilian control of the military and to keep those favoring military solutions — as an early recourse — away from the levers for taking the country to war. The Congress after World War II attempted to prevent the very situation that is now unfolding.

In George Marshall’s case, the waiver recognized his deep experience in statesmanship, since he served as Secretary of State and directed the Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe before he became Defense Secretary. “Mad Dog” Mattis received his waiver without mention of his diplomatic abilities. Yet, the waiver for Mattis easily passed the Senate, 81-17, and the House, 235-188. He was then confirmed by the Senate in a 99-1 vote.

Leading what little debate there was over the Mattis waiver and confirmation, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, said, “While I deeply respect General Mattis’s service, I will oppose a waiver. Civilian control of our military is a fundamental principle of American democracy, and I will not vote for an exception to this rule.”

Worked Up Over Russia  

In his confirmation hearings, Mad Dog supported what in Official Washington are the most conventional perspectives, including referring to Russia as a “principal threat.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Nov. 23, 2015 Tehran. (Photo from: http://en.kremlin.ru)

 

The sentiment of the vast majority of Congress was summed up by Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, a member of both the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, saying “In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, he demonstrated a clear-eyed view of our current national security environment and a deep appreciation for the challenges facing U.S. service members and their families.”

Kaine, who was Hillary Clinton’s vice-presidential running mate, added, “I believe he is well-prepared to lead the Department of Defense and provide the incoming administration with wise and strategic counsel on matters of national security.”

Kaine’s comments highlight a bizarre twist in the Trump presidency: the first Cabinet member approved by the Senate became an important neoconservative plant inside the administration despite Trump’s rhetorical rejection of neocon “regime change” policies. The incoherence of Trump’s emerging foreign policy appears to be directly related to Mattis and the interventionists – both neocons and liberals – who supported his ascent.

With Mattis at the Pentagon’s helm, the Trump administration has rapidly shifted toward a military dynamic, taking aim at many of the old neocon targets, including Syria and Iran. Mattis’s combative perspective seems to be at the core of these policies although – as a military officer – he does recognize the realities of war.

In late May, Mattis gave a rare interview to CBS’s Face The Nation. Speaking about North Korea, he declared that the conflict could turn “catastrophic” and “would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes.”

In early June, Mattis went before the Senate Armed Services Committee to make his case on the need for more military resources. Significantly, he requested more money for an increase of troops that he claims will check the Taliban in Afghanistan.

His comments overtly revealed his disdain for the legislative branch, citing inadequate funding as a chief cause of the military’s problems, having “blocked new programs, prevented service growth, stalled industry initiative, and placed troops at greater risk.”

Since 2001, the Afghan War has cost hundreds of billions of dollars with over 2,000 deaths of U.S. soldiers and civilian casualties in the tens of thousands. With this in mind, Mattis’s complaints raise more questions about his objectives and what’s really achievable. Yet, Official Washington’s elite opinion circles regard his proposed escalation and his money requests as serious and rational.

But at least Mattis doesn’t sugarcoat prospects for war in the “cakewalk” terms favored by some neocons. Shortly after his Senate testimony, Mattis appeared before the House Appropriations Committee and described a war scenario with North Korea:

“I would suggest that we will win. It will be a war more serious in terms of human suffering than anything we’ve seen since 1953. It will involve the massive shelling of an ally’s capital, which is one of the most densely packed cities on earth,” referring to Seoul, South Korea, with a population of 25 million.

“It would be a war that fundamentally we don’t want,” Mattis said, but “we would win at great cost.”

Mattis added that because the threat and consequences were so great, he and President Trump, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were considering non-military options. He added, “We’re exhausting all possible diplomatic efforts in this regard.”

Hammering a Nail

But there is an old saying that if all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. And, that is a danger if international policy is deeply influenced by a hard-charging Marine general, especially with an inexperienced President prone to accepting simple and direct “solutions.”

President Trump meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel on May 22, 2017. (Screenshot from Whitehouse.gov)

In the wake of Trump’s meeting on Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the real question becomes whether Putin’s more complex understanding of the world’s problems will influence Trump on flashpoints such as Syria, Iran, Ukraine and North Korea.

Or put somewhat differently, will Trump heed the inclinations of Secretary of State Tillerson, the former Exxon chief executive officer known for international wheeling-and-dealing, or will Trump lean toward Mattis and his readiness to mix it up militarily in places like Afghanistan, Syria and possibly even Ukraine?

The last thing that the neoconservatives and the liberal interventionists want is accommodation and compromise on some of these high-profile issues, which might envision a negotiated settlement in Syria that doesn’t result in Bashar al-Assad’s ouster, or a peace deal in Ukraine that doesn’t force Crimea back under the control of Ukraine, or an arrangement in Europe that lowers tensions with Russia.

Resolutions of these issues would not serve the interests of the Military-Industrial Complex well, nor those of Official Washington’s think tanks that rely on the largesse of military contractors and provide comfortable salaries for many of the key neocons and liberal hawks.

Those interests would be best served if “Mad Dog” Mattis is let off the leash as often as possible, if worldwide conflicts escalate, and if the Pentagon budget continues to swell. If that happens, Trump will not be the only one responsible; you can blame Congress for its readiness to sacrifice the principle of civilian control over the military to an aggressive military man.

The shallow compliments showered upon men like Mattis are symptoms of a country blindly embracing an egotistical and militaristic mindset.

David Marks is a veteran documentary filmmaker and investigative reporter. His work includes films for the BBC and PBS, including Nazi Gold, on the role of Switzerland in WWII and biographies of Jimi Hendrix and Frank Sinatra.

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37 comments for “Risk of Unleashing ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis

  1. Joe Tedesky
    July 8, 2017 at 10:54 am

    In our 241 year old history the United States hasn’t changed much. Our U.S. Military barrels through Middle East countries the same way our U.S. Calvary ran over Sioux villages. Our generals of today, are as glorified as was General Sherman as Sherman cheered on the Buffalo Hunter, who brought the scorched earth reality to the Native American they wasted the buffalo from. Our treaties are as good as the throw away paper the treaties are written on, so what we are seeing with the Iran Nuclear agreement, is the American Way of negotiating in action, just ask any Native-American. We thank service men and woman, for their serving in a job we are all thankful we don’t need to do. We send our soldiers off over one deployment after another deployment, only so they may fight an enemy who looks every bit the same as the civilians they are supposedly there to liberate. After that we forget about these wars, or we avoid to know, what is really going on with our military and the world. What does come home to roost is the soldier with PTSD, and the financial debt which piles up to where all social programs and aid are cut to nothing, all because we had to fight ‘another’ war. Yeah hoorah, lets make America Great Again!

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 8, 2017 at 1:27 pm
    • Dave P.
      July 8, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      Joe: An excellent summary of history. With this continuity, you wrote, of U.S. military history for 241 years without any change, it can be deduced almost mathematically, that the end point will be total annihilation of humans on Earth. The only question remains is, when?

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 8, 2017 at 2:02 pm

        The important thing will be the hanging of the banner, ‘Mission Accomplished’, and then officers and their respective guests will go below deck to the Captains dining room for pastries and some good old special blend Navy coffee. I should tell you that the ones with the biggest smiles who are among the honorary of that day will be the enriched defense contractors, who deserve a standing ovation for their destroying what’s left of the world. Cheer up, we’ll be dead!

        • Dave P.
          July 8, 2017 at 2:15 pm

          Joe, to prepare the population for the moment, they should show the 1959 film “On the Beach” by Stanley Kramer starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner.

          • Joe Tedesky
            July 8, 2017 at 2:48 pm

            If we end up like the movie, this could be our ending song….

            “That suicide is painless
            It brings on many changes
            I can take or leave it if I please
            That game of life is hard to play”

            You can look up Sucide is Painless for the complete lyrics, but the song will be suitable if doomsday ever comes.

          • Gregory Herr
            July 9, 2017 at 9:32 am
    • Curious
      July 8, 2017 at 11:29 pm

      Joe, I’m sure you are familiar with my following points, which seem to escape the US of Amnesia when the military is giving full throttle.
      – just recently in Germany a kindergarten student brought a life bomb ( I presume a hand grenade) to ‘show and tell’ and set it on shelf. The teacher evactuated the school. He found it above ground in a forest and this is 70 years afrer the war
      – Germany estimated they still find 2,200 tons of bombs many unexploded, per year still.

      For those who feel the Germans deserved to be flatten still doesn’t ring true, especially the fire bombing of civilians in Dresden when the war was at an end. The US and Britain went after the civilians just as the did in Nagasaki.

      We see the babies in Fallujah born deformed due to the spent nuclear tipped wepons the US uses on them. My observation is, to turn the milary loose within its own circle of other ‘Mad Dog’ generals is a fate which will destroy any moral platitudes the scriptwriters can lie about. Mosel, white phosphorous again? But some how this is defensible if we do it? It simply lays the spun speeches of western “values” to ruins. No wonder the resent world pew has the US at around 22% believed.

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 9, 2017 at 1:48 am

        The subject you bring up of post war civilians, mostly kids, being killed from unexploded ordinance is more than worthy of our earthly attention. I just saw somewhere yesterday how Syrians are starting to return to Syria, and the first think I thought of, was the death that awaits these returning refugees from land mines left behind. When you speak to what the bombs are laced with, well then you know there is evil with inside of mankind.

        I grew up on Marshall and Eisenhower, and I have been having a hard time so far this new century accepting ‘Mad Dog’ and Petraeus. Let’s face it, far too many of our upper echelon military, and government politicians, are extensions of the MIC, Think Tank Complex, and for this higher level of management it’s important these military and civilian sell outs accept and sell the product….I mean program.

        Last thing I’ll say about these land mines and improvised explosives is that I pray for the day when some genius inventor finds the sure cure method for making these hellish left behind exterminators safely inactive. Then say another prayer to end all war. Joe

        • Curious
          July 9, 2017 at 3:58 am

          Yes Joe, I suppose my point is we are polluting these countries for the next hundred years while some just want to jump up and down and say ” we won, we won”. The destruction our military leaves behind is seldom known, nor talked about, despite the fact they have no business being in these countries in the first place. When people get informed about breaking international law, they should also get informed of the pollution which will rape a country afterwards for hundreds of years. This pollution is seldom, if ever, mentioned. It will take two generations for some of these atrocities to be apparent. Just another US crime.

    • Chucky LeRoi
      July 9, 2017 at 5:29 am

      Joe – a few days ago you said we could probably share a cell some day. In that light, and after reading the first 20+ comments, I thought to respond to your first comment.

      To paraphrase Pablo Picasso after he saw the cave paintings at Lascaux, “We haven’t learned anything in 20,000 years.” This from a man with no small opinion of himself.

      I know he was referring (mostly?) to art, but I find this applies way too often outside of that area. Basically, it seems we are a screwed up species. We can produce Lascaux on one end and nuclear weapons on the other. If the brutal weapons producing part of us did not exist, we would not have survived to get to Lascaux or Picasso, banging on a log or J.S. Bach (or T. Monk, depending on your tastes.)

      I was taught that selfishness is a necessary survival trait. As infants all we can do is cry and try to attract attention to ourselves. “I’M HUNGRY! CHANGE MY DIAPER! LOOK AT ME! ME, ME, ME, ME!” And part of growing up is learning how to become less and less selfish. The current and historical madness to me are reflections of this innate selfishness. Humans, as a species, are still basically infants, maybe toddlers. The toys have become much more dangerous, and the societies and institutions we build and put in place to control these toys are the products of toddlers. Or worse yet, overly hormonal teenagers who think they know everything.

      Haven’t learned anything in 241 years? I am afraid we need more time than that. I am afraid for many reasons.

      But it’s Sunday morning, I am drinking coffee, looking out over trees and a few cows in a beautiful part of the world, surrounded by a loving family. And I am afraid. See – I am part of a screwed up species.

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 9, 2017 at 9:33 am

        What you are referring too I ponder about everyday, especially when watching this planets other animals. I can’t get over how whether it be the deer or the house puppy, that these animals move around all day on instinct, and they react to what comes next at the very second something happens. Then there I am putting away stuff on a shelf, climbing ladders, swearing when I screw something up, taking a coffee break because I want to, and then it’s time to read or watch tv. We are nothing like these other animals we share this earth with, and because of that difference many other living things thrive yet at the same time many suffer due to man’s desire to do things. I’ve also noticed, that even though we people think we are improving what’s around us, that between the tree and the squirrels our roadways, fences, and whatnot are killing every other breathing and growing plant that exist…this can’t be right, right?

        Trust me I’m no naturalist, but I often think about how we humans effect everything around us. When you hear or watch film footage of our planes dropping bombs on a town or village in some far off distant land, do you think ‘wow look at those bombs away’ or do you think ‘oh the poor humanity who suffer from these bomb attacks’ or do you cheer on the bomb attack by saying, ‘kill those bastards’. Ten different people could react with ten different opinions, why, because we are human.

        I don’t have an educated answer to why we humans are what we are, but like you pointed out we have the capability to do good and wonderful things, so why not just do that? Is it a coincidence that many primitive tools also could be used as weapons? Why do we have the expression, their coming with their pitchforks? Pitchforks are tools not weapons, so what’s the comparison?

        We could ponder this stuff all day, and yet in the end we are still where we began. I just wish that our leadership would rally us all to do good things, and that this leadership would do everything possible to avoid war. You are right our selfishness is to the detriment to every other thing we do, maybe instead of thinking about what we want we should think about what less fortunate people need. We could also start by asking ourselves to when in the last seventy years any of these wars benefitted anyone, that is except the military arms manufacturers and then go from there.

        Sorry I rambled on a lot, but I tried to give you my two cents worth on a subject which I’m not qualified to answer, but it was at least a good mind exercise for me to start my day with. Good god now I see a fly in the house, oh for the love of Peter Paul and Ringo what to do, what to do.

        Take care Chucky Joe

      • Joe Average
        July 9, 2017 at 2:12 pm

        Maybe we should learn to be so selfish not to be selfish. We come into the world with nothing and we can’t take anything with us when we have to leave

    • Dongi C
      July 9, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      A comment with real punch. Wars in the American style which emphasize the slaughter of large numbers of women and children whether in the 19th or the 20th centuries. A comment very well done.

  2. mike k
    July 8, 2017 at 10:55 am

    The US Government operates on a very simple basis: We are the unique force for good in the world, and if you do not do what we tell you to do, then it is our duty to either make you do it make you do it by force, or to destroy you if you continue to resist us. The US claims to be the sole legitimate heir to this right to dominate the world, and is bending all it’s energies to making the world accept this fact.

    If one understands this about America, then most of the crazy stuff they are doing in the world makes sense in terms of the wacko premise it stems from. The fate of our species depends on whether there can be found a way to cancel this insane narcissistic power trip, and get the rulers of America to back off and accept a more modest and cooperative role in the world.

    • mike k
      July 8, 2017 at 11:02 am

      Russia and China are begging the US to accept something less than the whole pie, so that we can all survive this nuclear age, but so far the US isn’t buying it. They still have the delusion that the whole enchilada can be theirs. This is greed that has become insanity.

      • Mark Thomason
        July 8, 2017 at 12:53 pm

        They are still trying to exploit the “win” of the Cold War, pushing as far as they can everywhere.

        The collapse of the Soviets was not really a win as understood by the neocons. The neocons merely survived longer in their dysfunctional relationship to the world than did the Soviets. So their exploitation did not work, they were pushing failure from the get go.

  3. Larry Galearis
    July 8, 2017 at 11:11 am

    But does Mattis need a map to know where he is bombing?

    G.

  4. Mark Thomason
    July 8, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    The extreme aggression of the US in the recent past came from its civilian leadership. It was Bush’s civilians, and then Team Hillary, that promoted wars with extravagant goals. It was an extension of Madeline Albright’s theory of what good is that expensive military if they can’t use it.

    The military is a hammer that tends to see nails, but they also tend to see risks and downsides and worst cases. The American military has not been the leader of aggression, it has been the home of the people who got fired for telling Bush it was not going to work.

    Whatever the faults of the military in these positions, at least they are not Hillary’s or Bush’s civilian teams (which were much the same people).

  5. PokeTheTruth
    July 8, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    President Trump like most Americans, suffers from “military worship syndrome”, a mental disorder that psychologically elevates citizens who wear the uniform of the armed forces of the United States to that of demigods, to be fawned over and given the highest respect with little consideration for their role in defending America from attacks by the latest Pentagon pseudo-antagonist.

    The clever manipulation by the marketing division of the U.S. Military has created an unbridled junta that operates inside Washington, DC and thanks to Trump, is now the de facto arbiter of American foreign policy. This disastrous executive cabinet appointment of another military advisor, follows a historical parallel to Japan in the 1930’s, where President Trump plays Emperor Hirohito and Secretary of War James Mattis plays the part of uber-nationalist, General Hideki Tojo.

    Mattis was a 40 year career military officer who is revered with glowing praise for his leadership and blunt speech concerning matters of war. Some infamous quotes from a professional soldier who attained the rank of general and wore the uniform of the United States Marine Corps.

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

    2. “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.”

    3. “There is nothing better than getting shot at and missed. It’s really great.”
    4. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people.”

    5. “The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some a**holes in the world that just need to be shot.”

    6. “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.”

    This was a former American commissioned officer, a leader who displayed unabashed lust for killing as he encouraged the same bravado in his Marine grunts. Notice the attempt to temper his words in the first quote by using the phrase, “Be polite, be professional” as if trading in death is commensurate with the work of a doctor in medicine, an attorney in the practice of law, an engineer in science or a teacher of education. He clearly declares himself to be a professional killer and proud of it.

    Mattis again, offers his personal thoughts when interviewed by the CBS television show, “Face the Nation” (see: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/transcript-defense-secretary-james-mattis-on-face-the-nation-may-28-2017/ ).

    In particular he says very cleverly, “There is no relaxation of our attention to protect the innocent. We do everything we can to protect the civilians, and actually lowering– delegating the authority to the lower level allows us to do this better.”

    That’s called plausible deniability or in other words, CYA when NCO’s under his command spray bullets everywhere and kill women and children who are marked as the “walking dead”.

    Mattis continues with his deceptive comments such as, “The American people and the American military will never get used to civilian casualties.”

    The truth is the American people or its military could care less about the foreign civilian fatalities as long as it’s not them lying face down on the ground.

    When asked about Russia, Mattis said, “But right now, Russia is choosing to be a strategic competitor for any number of reasons. But the bottom line is NATO is not a threat and they know it.”

    Yes it must be true that U.S.-NATO is not a threat to the Russian Federation because he affirms it. So what are U.S. ground troops doing on Russia’s western border in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, huh? Why is the U.S. doing air reconnaissance and combat sea and land drills on a regular basis in the Baltic sea? His lies are so blatant it oozes from his face like poison.

    All this from a U.S. Marine who even has a Polish Army medal proudly displayed on his retired uniform, ribbon rack. But no purple heart; how could that be, I wonder? Perhaps leading from the “rear with the gear” is safer than risking his life like the grunts under his command are asked to do for MRE’s, glory and guts.

    It is this ethos of the adopted military prowess of ancient Sparta brought forward into the 21st century where the primary order is see the enemy everywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if Secretary Mattis referred to the works of the Spartan poet, Tyrtaeus, to further inspire his men, “You should reach the limits of virtue, before you cross the border of death.” or this line, “For no man ever proves himself a good man in war unless he can endure to face the blood and the slaughter, …”.

    The psychosis of this mental attitude is that it leads young, inexperienced junior officers and their subordinates to believe there are no rules concerning modern warfare, only to kill when the opportunity presents itself. “Shoot first, sort it out later” becomes the normal thinking process. Unarmed civilians caught in a combat area could be wearing an IED, better shoot them and say you’re sorry afterwards. A wedding party might be cover for terrorists disguised as guests, better bomb them from above, after all, “collateral damage” is military-speak for the non-combatants who are now targets of opportunity.

    This warrior culture breaches criminal behavior when it ignores the UCMJ (Uniformed Code of Military Conduct), Laws of Warfare or Jus in bello. Years ago, the U.S. Military would have brought charges against wanton killing of innocents but not any more. The United Nations turns a deaf ear and a blind eye as well, serving as the political footstool of American hegemony anywhere in the world.

    King Agesilaus II of Sparta, when asked about his nation’s boundaries looked at his spear and said, “As far as this can reach.” The same hubris is claimed by the United States government and will ultimately be their downfall, one day.

    • Dave P.
      July 8, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      PokeTheTruth: Excellent post. Mattis, “Bibi” Netanyahu, the U.S. Congress applauding and fawning over them, Kushner, Nikki Haley over there at U.N., Trump with his tweets, Obama out there plotting behind the scenes to thwart any chances for peace and reconciliation . . . it feels like that the World is caught helplessly amidst this very surreal drama – a very frightening one at that. No body can tell how the end is going to be like.

      This drama has been going on for some time now – for over two decades. Only, it has picked up in its’ intensity – with these new characters we have now. May be it is getting close to The End now. It does not bode well for the World.

    • Abe
      July 8, 2017 at 7:39 pm
      • Abe
        July 8, 2017 at 8:03 pm

        Mattis’ critic, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Jason Amerine, served in the United States Army Special Forces during the US Invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. In 2002, Amerine was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart for his actions in Afghanistan.

        After graduating from West Point, Amerine volunteered for Ranger duty and then for Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) and thereafter headed up Texas 12, the codename for Operational Detachment Alpha 574 of the Army’s 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group. When training Kazakh paratroops in Kazakhstan, he received news of the September 11 attacks.

        Then Captain Amerine was assigned to help Afghan freedom fighters overthrow the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. He joined forces with Afghan fighters led by Hamid Karzai.

        In Uruzgan, Amerine with his American troops and Karzai with his Afghan fighters both defended the town of Tarin Kowt from a Taliban attack. Next, the US-Afghan forces marched on a campaign along the Arghandab River, fighting the Taliban at Shawali Kowt and Sayyd Alma Kalay. These engagements eventually lead to the capture of Kandahar.

        Shortly after Karzai was elected to be interim leader of Afghanistan, Amerine was hit by friendly fire from a bomber. He lost three of his friends in the explosion, and learned three days later (in a hospital in Germany) that Kandahar had finally fallen to end the war.

        The story of Amerine and his eleven-man team of Green Berets in Afghanistan is told in the book The Only Thing Worth Dying For (2010) by Eric Blehm.

        After Amerine provided information to Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) to assist the Congressman in preparing legislation to improve U.S. hostage freeing efforts in 2014, the Army received complaints from the FBI. In early 2015, the U.S. Army initiated what has been deemed by those close to Amerine as a retaliatory criminal investigation for his work aimed at improving hostage rescue procedures. In May 2015, Amerine’s West Point Classmates initiated a Whitehouse.gov petition to “provide LTC Jason Amerine, SF, US Army, Whistleblower Protection and end all investigations and unfavorable actions.” On June 11, 2015 Amerine was one of five whistleblowers who testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs when it convened a hearing entitled, “Blowing the Whistle on Retaliation: Accounts of Current and Former Federal Agency Whistleblowers.”

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 8, 2017 at 10:20 pm

      If you go on Netflex and watch the movie ‘War Machine’ starring Brad Pitt you will see the confusion, and pain, our American soldiers have over when, and who, to shoot becomes vitality important to their mission. What makes it hard, is there is no difference between the friendly villager who you buy produce from by day, to the terrorist shadow which will hunt you by night. To boot, the military comes up with a new medal, a medal for showing restraint in the confrontation a soldier will experience while on patrol, when facing danger. This medal, along with the impossible mission, makes the soldiers become despondent, and confused. For whatever reason these wars which our American leadership seems hell bent on fighting, should just never be. The cost to enrich a military contracting company, is not worth all the human suffering it has unleashed upon the innocents it has brought down, and because of that these quagmires must end.

      Great comment PokeTheTruth Joe

      • Skip Scott
        July 9, 2017 at 8:09 am

        Joe-

        It is always folly to fight on foreign soil, yet we have 800 (I think it is now) foreign military bases. How many Americans would tolerate a foreign military base on US soil? The utter hypocrisy is ludicrous. Time to bring the kids home. That’d be the first step to making America great again.

  6. July 8, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    There is another possibility that could influence Trump’s erratic foreign policy. I wouldn’t discount family. It seems to me that Bibi’s buddy, Jared Kushner could be behind much of the aggressive moves and Millenia may well be more influential in suggesting the rapprochement with Russia than she’s given credit. Let’s not forget Nancy’s influence over Reagan in setting up appointments with astrologers before meetings with Gorbachev. My fear, however is that Kushner has the upper hand.

  7. July 8, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    PokeTheTruth, that is an excellent, chilling post. It is military psychosis. Whom the Gods would destroy, they first drive mad…

  8. Drew Hunkins
    July 8, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    “The shallow compliments showered upon men like Mattis are symptoms of a country blindly embracing an egotistical and militaristic mindset.”

    Fabulous!

  9. Kieron
    July 9, 2017 at 2:25 am

    Were we not warned of the rise of the military industrial complex nearly 60 years ago. The proof of its strangle hold is clearly there to be seen. But as nations we refuse to address this cancer, cut it out and control it for the future. It’s a a sad fact that unless we as civilians, do not carry out the surgery so desperately needed, we will surely die.

  10. Michael Kenny
    July 9, 2017 at 11:20 am

    When he lists the world’s “flashpoints”, Mr Marks puts his finger on the central point. What do Ukraine, Syria, Iran and North Korea all have in common? Putin! Putin grabbed Ukrainian territory. Putin is propping up Assad. Putin is being presented by his American supporters as Iran’s “ally”. Putin is said to be hostile to the installation of THAAD missiles in South Korea and moved troops up to the North Korean border when a possible US invasion was being mooted. So when Trump looks around him, he sees four problems: Putin, Putin, Putin and Putin! Trump’s fifth problem is that Putin’s American supporters have backed him into a corner by presenting him as Putin’s stooge. Any concession Trump makes to Putin will therefore be seen as a proof of that “stoogery” and will fuel Russiagate. Sooner or later, the two cold war dinosaurs have to fight it out and if Mathis wasn’t there, someone else like him would be.

    • Curious
      July 9, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      Hello Michael,
      Just for your your personal edification, read about Victoria Nuland mentioning the 5 billion dollars the US spent in Ukraine the year before the coup, and then follow the money and the ultra-right from western Ukraine. Connect some dots and you’ll realize it was the US all along, and not Putin. A little reading will go a long way. This is just a suggestion.

  11. Valentine
    July 9, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    Today’s Soldiers Are Becoming Fading Dinosaurs

    Modern technology has transformed weapons and the battlefield and made fuzzy the concept of the combatant. Global terrorists, non-professional combatants, and non-state organizations are a growing threat to sovereign states. Faced with these threats, the professional solider of today resembles the great, powerful but poorly adapted dinosaur.

    Eat a peach. The bigger they are the harder they fall.

  12. voxpax
    July 10, 2017 at 5:25 am

    Hello to all of you who are worried about the future of homo sapiens.
    It is all in vain, no god, no paradise, no hell, no flag, no nation, no corporation, no wall st., no london city, no money, no humanity, no species, nothing that last for ever…….but EVOLUTION.
    At least we can see so much today, all these historical extrapolations do not add up to anything. Using fiction as the base to rule the present world is so outdated. We are riding the train called evolution and it does not care about the thoughts of some dividual individuals.
    We ain’t seen nothing yet.

  13. Stiv
    July 10, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Interesting article and brings points that I’ll be watching for.

    Another interesting point in the article:

    ” 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.”

    Doesn’t this describe Trump as well? Yea, it does at a different level. Trump will always defer to someone who actually might KNOW something,.. as long as he also knows that he will also carry Trumps water on demand. Trump can’t be bothered with learning anything so depending on others will be his preferred method of operation.

    Yea, American as shit city “MAGA” Lol.

  14. John Hasse
    July 11, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    If ‘we’ (The united states) had two brain cells to rub together ‘we’ would make a generous gift to South Korea of the means to defend themselves, and get out of there!!!!

  15. Greg Johnson
    July 12, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    The reference to “Mad Dog” is both disrespectful and out of context. James Mattis is a reserved individual who knew how to motivate his Marines going into combat. His troops loved him. In reality, he is normally a reserved thoughtful individual who should be respected for his intellect and desire to serve the best interests of the United States and its allies.

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