Mattis Is No Good
And neither is Rex Tillerson. But let’s consider Mattis first. James Mattis has made a couple of moves which can only be explained by his being quite ill-intentioned. Firstly, in written testimony to his Senate confirmation hearings Mattis stated that “Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today.” So Mattis believes in global warming. The wonderful thing about global warming is that is a basic litmus test for our public officials, especially for someone so well read as General Mattis. Anyone who still believes what they read in newspapers could be forgiven for thinking and stating that global warming is real and happening.
But General Mattis would have read up on the matter enough to know that it is a discredited scam, and then decided he would come out as a true believer anyway knowing full well the political consequences of that. Global warming was Obama’s leitmotif. In his global warming stance, General Mattis may have declared his allegiance to the old regime.
And then there is the matter of Anne Patterson who, as U.S. ambassador to Egypt from 2011 to 2013, was an enthusiastic supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian people hated her while she was there, hated her as much as they hated Obama. Ms. Patterson was fully on board with Obama’s desire for Islamists to take over the Middle East. And despite knowing this, as he must have done, Mattis nominated her for the post of undersecretary of defense for policy. Why would any intelligent person do this, unless they had some ulterior motive which was completely at odds to the ethos of the Trump administration?
If you can judge a man by the company he keeps, Mattis scores poorly on that as well. Currently Mattis is Secretary of Defense, General John Nicholson is in charge of the Afghanistan campaign, General Joseph Dunford is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and General Joseph Votel is commander of CENTCOM. Back in 2007, then Colonel Nicholson was in charge of Task Force Spartan, which had responsibility for a patch of Afghanistan that included a village called Bati Kot. On March 4, 2007, a Marine special operations company, Fox Company, was ambushed at Bati Kot, successfully fought their way out of the engagement and returned to base. Whereupon they found that they were falsely accused of indiscriminately killing civilians. Within days, Fox Company was ordered out of the war zone under a cloud of shame.
In May 2007, then Colonel Nicholson addressed the Pentagon press corps via satellite from Afghanistan, saying that what the Marine unit had done in Bati Kot represented "a stain on our honor" and a "terrible, terrible mistake’. Though later exonerated by a court of inquiry at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the Marines of Fox Company had their reputations and careers ruined.
Such is our now-general Nicholson who used an opportunity to thrash the reputations of some under his command so as to appear virtuous, and thus advance his own career. His chief enabler at the time was Votel, then Deputy Commander of Regional Command -- East, to whom he reported. Mattis, then CENTCOM commander, and Dunford, then ISAF commander, were also involved in the witch hunt. In 2016, General Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee that "Since 9/11, the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan has largely defined my service." So that is 17 years of failure and counting.
Trump, like Lincoln, is going to have to keep firing his generals until he gets someone who is on his side.
Tillerson also chose poorly on the subject of global warming. As CEO of Exxon, and an engineer himself, he would have had access to very good analyses on the subject and would have been aware of the political goals of the warmers in destroying the wealth of his shareholders and countrymen. But as one of Lenin’s useful idiots he became a promoter of global warming hysteria and applied Exxon’s considerable resources to that end. That is understandable in that a lot of CEOs these days are heavily into virtue signalling, but not forgivable. And let’s revisit Tillerson’s role in bringing gay troop leaders to the Boy Scouts of America in 2013. Now, gays are part of humanity and will be with us to the end of time, but only someone with an aberrant moral compass would think they should be left in charge of young boys, especially the ones who want to be troop leaders.
Tillerson hasn’t done anything wonderful yet as Secretary of State and on his current trajectory is unlikely to. President Trump has enough momentum from inspired appointments such as Scott Pruitt to head the EPA that he can afford to start changing out people who shouldn’t have been chosen in the first place.
David Archibald’s latest book is American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare.