Thursday, July 08, 2010

Gen. Mattis: New CENTCOM Commander 

The Fox News Online story about this nomination makes the point that USMC General James N. Mattis said, five years ago, that "it's fun to shoot some people." The story goes on to say that Gen. Mattis was "rebuked" for making that remark.

Well, pardon me if my response to the remark is, "Big Whoop." As politically incorrect as the General might have been (and general officers must always be aware of politics), the stubborn truth is that armed forces' raison d'etre is to kill people and break things, and the Marine Corps is probably the premiere armed force in the world at doing that very thing. But also remember that Gen. Mattis is the one who popularized the slogan, "no better friend, no worse enemy."

The General's remark sounds very "Patton-ish", and I frankly feel more comfortable knowing our Marines are led by someone who thinks that way, and isn't afraid to express himself. I should think that it would be gratifying, if not exactly "fun," to shoot someone who is a declared mortal enemy of the United States and its citizens, and who would not only feel great joy at killing Americans but would brag about it and celebrate it with his comrades, and who would be regarded as a great hero by his people. (Viz. September 11, 2001-remember the ululations of the Arab women?)

As Sherman said, "War is hell," and it requires smart, tough, realistic and above all courageous men and women to fight a war. It does our military a disservice to think of what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan as some kind of glorified first-person shooter computer game. I have no doubt that Gen. Mattis will do a fine job at CENTCOM, and we are fortunate to have such men as he to lead our troops.


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