President-elect Donald Trump has selected retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to be secretary of defense, and he sounds like he’s very, very good at war.
The 66-year-old retired from the Marine Corps in 2013, having served as the commander of the U.S. Central Command. Nicknamed ‘Mad Dog’, he was referred to by Trump as a ‘true general’s general’ – and he sounds hard as hell.
But while his 44-year service leading Marines in battle is mostly respected, there are also concerns about his lack of experience in diplomacy.
Viewed and respected as a warrior among Marines, he has been at the forefront of numerous engagements. And if you take a look back at some of the quotes he’s given, it’s pretty easy to see why.
Here’s a taste of what the U.S. will be getting with their new secretary of defence.
“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
One of his ‘words to live by’ for his Marines in Iraq, this was a call for troops to never let their guard down – even to those who seem friendly.
“The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot. There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”
This motivational speech was used to address his Marines at an air base in Iraq, telling them to stay sharp and continue the mission.
He ended the speech with: “I feel sorry for every son of a bitch that doesn’t get to serve with you.”
“I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.”
At least the American people don’t have to worry about a lack of confidence in Mattis.
‘Mad Dog’ received command of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, and was chosen to lead Task Force 58. He led the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade into Afghanistan in 2001 and the 1st Marine Division into Iraq in 2003, and he led an operation into Fallujah in 2004 dubbed ‘Operation Vigilant Resolve’, Business Insider reports. Later, he also helped to plan ‘Operation Phantom Fury.’
His success in battle has earned him top status among Marines.
“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.”
Mattis said this while speaking about his time on the ground in Afghanistan, but his boss, Marine Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee later said ‘he should have chosen his words more carefully.’
“PowerPoint makes us stupid.”
While it may not be a scientifically proven fact, his claim must have some logic behind it – Mattis actually banned briefers from using the software while he was in charge of U.S. Central Command, and other top generals have followed.
“If in order to kill the enemy you have to kill an innocent, don’t take the shot. Don’t create more enemies than you take out by some immoral act.”
Mattis, a coauthor of the military’s counterinsurgency manual, has often spoken about following the rules of engagement and being disciplined against a ruthless enemy.