New Yorker profile of Mattis

Can be found here.

Here is one bit

Anecdotes about Mattis’s audacity in the field are legion. Early in the Iraq War, he met with local leaders and told them, “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 will kill you all.”

There is also this

But, in embracing Mattis’s Mad Dog persona, Trump neglected a side of him that appealed to many others—that of the deeply read scholar-soldier and sophisticated analyst. In this view, Mattis is a kind of anti-Trump, a veteran of three wars who has been sobered by their brutalities, a guardian of the internationalist tradition in American foreign policy. Mattis was endorsed by Henry Kissinger, whom he had worked with at Stanford University. As if to prove his judiciousness, Mattis, during his job interview, tried to persuade Trump to abandon the idea of reinstituting torture as an interrogation tool, saying that offers of beer and cigarettes work just as well. Even the nickname Mad Dog is a misnomer; none of his friends use it, and Mattis himself does not care for it.

On American political culture,

When I asked what worried him most in his new position, I expected him to say isis or Russia or the defense budget. Instead, he said, “The lack of political unity in America. The lack of a fundamental friendliness. It seems like an awful lot of people in America and around the world feel spiritually and personally alienated, whether it be from organized religion or from local community school districts or from their governments.

On Iraq 2003

Mattis believed from the start that invading Iraq was a bad idea. In the spring of 2002, he told me, he was in Kandahar, commanding a Marine task force, when a superior officer summoned him to the United States to begin preparing his men for the invasion—which had not yet been publicly discussed. “I said, ‘Are you joking?’ ” Mattis recalled. “And I’ll never forget what he said. He said, ‘Jim, just go down and get those sailors and marines ready. You’re going.’ And so we went down and we did it.”

I don’t agree with Mattis about everything, but he is clearly one of the few adults in the room.

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