Tuesday, February 08, 2005

More on General Mattis

In a piece for National Review Online, Mackubin Owens disproves the disgusting slur that the recent controversial comments by Marine Lt. General James Mattis somehow make him the equal of our jihadist adversaries:

But those who would use Gen. Mattis's words to defame him or — most especially — the Marine Corps owe it to themselves to examine his record as a combat leader in Afghanistan, where he served as a commander of the Naval Task Force that seized an advanced airbase at the opening of that campaign; and Iraq, where he commanded the storied 1st Marine Division during the march up to Baghdad. The fact is that Gen. Mattis is probably the finest Marine combat leader since the legendary Chesty Puller. I have never met a Marine who served with Gen. Mattis who had anything less than the highest regard for him. Anyone who has seen him knows he doesn't "look" like a Marine but he sure knows how to act like one. And acting like a Marine makes room for such principles of restraint in war as chivalry (defend the weak and the innocent) and proportionality (use only the force necessary to achieve the objective). For the most part, observers agree that the Marines of Gen. Mattis's division treated surrendering Iraqi humanely — the way they are supposed to be treated.

Distinctions of War

Let me conclude by quoting retired Army Major General Robert Scales, who was moderator of the panel where Mattis made his remarks:

My point simply is this: We must celebrate the fact that we have men like Jim Mattis willing to devote (and give) their lives when necessary to commit an act that most of those in our society would be horrified to even contemplate. If you are offended by these emotions, then seriously consider joining an Army or Marine infantry unit so that you can demonstrate how to kill an enemy in a more humane and politically correct manner.

Until such an unlikely day occurs, we must all remember that leaders like Gen. Mattis and the men he commands are the rarest commodities that a protected society like ours can produce. All they want is the opportunity to serve a country that truly appreciates the difficulty and dangers inherent in the duties they perform, duties that very few are willing even to contemplate.

(Link courtesy of the Corner)

General Mattis was perhaps guilty of poor judgment in his choice of words, but he is by all accounts a decent, honorable man who has given this country a lifetime of service. Men like him are the reason we live in freedom.


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