How ironic that the result of General McChrystal’s being fired – for speaking like a warrior, candidly – is the promotion of hard-talking Marine General James Mattis to Petraeus’s slot at CENTCOM, author of such choice gems as:
„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 . . . 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.“
„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.“ – General Mattis‘ message to Sunni tribal chiefs in Iraq, 2004
„Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.“
Personally I don’t have a problem with this philosophy; this is straight-up gallantry, personified. These comments are obviously directed at the front-line fighters; the grunts, the ground-pounders – the lessoneds I learned on my journey from a junior to a senior combat Officer.
There is a brain within this Marine Bulldog, apparently: in the book Fiasco by Thomas Ricks, General Mattis is described as „one of the more intense intellectuals in the U.S. military.“
With General Petraeus, General Mattis co-authored FM 3-24 / MCWP 3-33.5, the joint US Army / Marine Corp Counterinsurgency manual, which codifies Department of Defense Doctrine for fighting insurgencies (i.e. „guerrilla warfare“) and has been described as the strategy for our current conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
They seem to have the right people in place; now the Obama Administration and the leadership of the House and Senate must come to grips with the concept of actually winning this war – to do otherwise is criminal in fact. Instead of continual politicization of the war, our civilian leadership must envision what Victory looks like in Afghanistan and they must handle the truth, and then communicate that vision to the American people.