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Defense Secretary Mattis Is Out

dimsum

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I'm actually surprised Mattis stayed in as long as he had.  He was one of the moderate folks in the administration.

President Donald Trump said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is retiring “with distinction” at the end of February 2018, according to a tweet on Thursday.

“During Jim’s tenure, tremendous progress has been made, especially with respect to the purchase of new fighting equipment,” Trump said. “General Mattis was a great help to me in getting allies and other countries to pay their share of military obligations. A new Secretary of Defense will be named shortly. I greatly thank Jim for his service.”

https://taskandpurpose.com/trump-mattis-retirement/?utm_content=buffer36acd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Mattis's resignation letter:
https://taskandpurpose.com/mattis-resignation-letter/?utm_content=buffer1d226&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
 

tomahawk6

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In part he probably opposed the decision to get out of Syria and Afghanistan. In any event its a very demanding job and I suspect he is just ready to retire.
 

NavyShooter

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My guess?

He's tired of being 'behind a desk' and wants to go knife-hand and face-shoot some bad guys again.

 

tomahawk6

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After 40 years of service he is ready to spend time with the family. I wonder who will be nominated for the job ?
 

FJAG

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tomahawk6 said:
In part he probably opposed the decision to get out of Syria and Afghanistan. In any event its a very demanding job and I suspect he is just ready to retire.

tomahawk6 said:
After 40 years of service he is ready to spend time with the family. I wonder who will be nominated for the job ?

Mattis has no family as such. He never married and has no children. His entire life was dedicated 100% to the military.

He wrote an excellent resignation letter which, among other things, basically said to Trump:

My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.

Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.

See the whole letter here: https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/20/politics/james-mattis-resignation-letter-doc/index.html

In effect he's saying in a subtle way that he can no longer work for a man whose belief and value system is so far different from his own.

I think Mattis stayed on as long as he did out of a sense of duty to protect the country from Trump's excesses and lack of values. The Syria decision and the expected one on Afghanistan were the straws that broke the camel's back and the only honourable thing he could do in the circumstances was to resign.

I find it noteworthy that he never says in the letter that he served as "Trumps's" Secretary of Defence but instead that he was the "country's" Secretary and that he "serve(d) the nation and our men and women in uniform".

America will be the poorer for his absence.

:subbies:
 

mariomike

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tomahawk6 said:
I suspect he is just ready to retire.

Sounds more like a resignation than a retirement,

"Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position."
 

The Bread Guy

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tomahawk6 said:
In part he probably opposed the decision to get out of Syria and Afghanistan.
May also be unhappy about pro-US Kurds being left in the lurch in Syria.
 

tomahawk6

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Mattis has been called a warrior monk. I imagine Trump is hard to work for specially for a man who loves structure and discipline,something that Trump isn't.
 

tomahawk6

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Here are some names being floated to replace Mattis.I saw an interview on Fox today with retired Gen Jack Keane.At the end he ruled out working in the public sector. I like the chances of  #2 man at Defense Mr Shanahan moving up.
 
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/who-might-replace-mattis/ar-BBRfhu5?ocid=spartanntp
 

CBH99

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Ouch.  Things just aren't getting any better for Trump, are they?

I respect Mattis, a lot.  And for HIM to resign, and basically say Trump's values & rudeness are so out of whack with his own that he feels the need to RESIGN...that's a pretty big indicator that things really are that bad in the White House.


Conspiracy theory alert...sorry, but it just dawned on me.  For the sake of a mere 5000 personnel in Syria, which is a pretty bare number by US standards, why leave Syria?  Leaving Syria will leave a huge power vacuum, which Russia would be happy to exploit as Putin has been a staunch ally of Bashir since the near beginning of the current conflict.

Seems like a weird thing to do.  Pull out of a country, entirely and unexpectedly, and leave a power vacuum surely to be filled by Russia...while also being investigated for being under Russia's influence?  Hmmmmmmmm...  :Tin-Foil-Hat:
 

Remius

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CBH99 said:
Ouch.  Things just aren't getting any better for Trump, are they?

I respect Mattis, a lot.  And for HIM to resign, and basically say Trump's values & rudeness are so out of whack with his own that he feels the need to RESIGN...that's a pretty big indicator that things really are that bad in the White House.


Conspiracy theory alert...sorry, but it just dawned on me.  For the sake of a mere 5000 personnel in Syria, which is a pretty bare number by US standards, why leave Syria?  Leaving Syria will leave a huge power vacuum, which Russia would be happy to exploit as Putin has been a staunch ally of Bashir since the near beginning of the current conflict.

Seems like a weird thing to do.  Pull out of a country, entirely and unexpectedly, and leave a power vacuum surely to be filled by Russia...while also being investigated for being under Russia's influence?  Hmmmmmmmm...  :Tin-Foil-Hat:

More conspiracy theories would have it that he had to act now before the noose closes in on him.
 

tomahawk6

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Trump offered Putin an olive branch.  :christmas happy:


Anyone remember how Obama fired Mattis in 2013 without even calling him. The media didn't implode then.


https://www.weeklystandard.com/daniel-halper/obama-fires-top-general-without-even-a-phone-call
 

dimsum

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tomahawk6 said:
Trump offered Putin an olive branch.  :christmas happy:


Anyone remember how Obama fired Mattis in 2013 without even calling him. The media didn't implode then.


https://www.weeklystandard.com/daniel-halper/obama-fires-top-general-without-even-a-phone-call

That's comparing apples to hammers.  Even if Trump fired the current head of CENTCOM, I don't think the media would have the same reaction as the SECDEF diplomatically giving the President a middle finger. 

Trump has also talked about pulling half the troops out of Afghanistan as well, not just Syria.
 

PuckChaser

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Dimsum said:
Trump has also talked about pulling half the troops out of Afghanistan as well, not just Syria.

So he'll finish what Obama started? Seems like US Presidents have a history of invading places, screwing them up, and then bailing to score political points.
 

reveng

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Maybe Americans are sick of losing their sons and daughters to pointless conflicts in the lands of barbarians? Especially while it costs them dearly, and the majority of their supposed allies make only token contributions, or worse openly criticize them?


 

tomahawk6

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I support pulling our 5000 troops in Syria back inside Iraq as well as a partial pullout in Afghanistan.Essentially  we are talking about 7000 troops which still leaves 7000 in country plus NATO troops. Frankly if the ANA cannot defend the country after 17 years of our help,I don't know what else we can do.
 

CBH99

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I understand pulling troops out of Afghanistan.  That's a war that just can't be won the way it's being fought, and I have no idea what the solution is.  Whatever the solution is, I'm guessing it'll be an ugly compromise by both sides, as it's been a stalemate for YEARS now.

Syria seems to be a good use of 5000 personnel though.  A fairly small contingent for an operation that size, yet the troops there have done an absolutely FANTASTIC job of furthering US interests in the region.  Not to mention completely obliterating & making an example out of the Russian mercenaries sent to attack one of the US FOBs.

ISIS isn't completely defeated.  There's still a civil war going on.  Other extremist groups are operating in the area also.  Syria has targeted our allies, the Kurds.  And Turkey seems intent on being involved, as well as Iran.  The 5000 troops there, all things considered, have done far more than their fare share of structuring the current situation to what it is...I personally think they should stay.

Syria won't be another Afghanistan (famous last words, I know...)  But between a functioning Syrian government, Turkey, Russia, and HOPEFULLY some military & diplomatic backing of the Kurds, I'm thinking a solution will eventually be found. 

I don't have the same faith in Afghanistan unfortunately.
 

Retired AF Guy

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standingdown said:
Maybe Americans are sick of losing their sons and daughters to pointless conflicts in the lands of barbarians? Especially while it costs them dearly, and the majority of their supposed allies make only token contributions, or worse openly criticize them?

Except in this case one of the Allies being betrayed are the Kurds; they are ones who are bearing the brunt of the fighting against ISIS and sacrificing their sons and daughters in the conflict, not the US. In fact, according to Wikipedia, four US personnel have died in Syria, and two of those were non-combat.

And for clarification, according to various sources, the US has approximately 2,000 troops in Syria, not 5,000.
 

Navy_Pete

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Retired AF Guy said:
Except in this case one of the Allies being betrayed are the Kurds; they are ones who are bearing the brunt of the fighting against ISIS and sacrificing their sons and daughters in the conflict, not the US. In fact, according to Wikipedia, four US personnel have died in Syria, and two of those were non-combat.

And for clarification, according to various sources, the US has approximately 2,000 troops in Syria, not 5,000.

Those casualty numbers are sobering; estimates are anywhere from 80 000 - 200 000 civilians have been killed by the government in the civil war.

There are all kinds of stories popping up about people from other countries going to fight against ISIS, but when you look at the nationalities of civilians killed, some of those Kurdish units must be like the UN (except effective).
 

tomahawk6

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There are 5000 US troops in Syria although the number probably fluctuates. A neighbor's son joined the Army on graduating from high school and was assigned to an artillery unit from the 82d that spent time in Syria. Rangers and Marines have also rotated into Syria. Frankly that's the way forward I think by just rotating units we don't have a permanent base there or troop levels.The Turks are the real issue and their war against the kurds harms our interests.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/21/us/politics/pentagon-syria-iraq-kurds.html


WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is considering using small teams of Special Operations forces to strike the Islamic State in Syria, one option for continuing an American military mission there despite President Trump’s order to withdraw troops from the country.
The American commandos would be shifted to neighboring Iraq, where an estimated 5,000 United States forces are already deployed, and “surge” into Syria for specific raids, according to two military officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
 
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