‘Mad Dog’ at the Pentagon

December 11, 2016

“It’s fun to shoot some people,” declared “Mad Dog” James Mattis to an audience of laughing U.S. military officers in occupied Iraq in 2005. (ABC News, Dec. 1)

Donald Trump just chose this retired Marine four-star general to be Secretary of Defense.

If anybody thought the war danger would diminish with billionaire Trump in the White House, his pick for the Pentagon should be a wake-up call.

Mattis is a superhawk obsessed with Iran. Mattis told an April 22 meeting at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank, that the three biggest threats facing the U.S. are “Iran, Iran, Iran.” (Politico, Dec. 4)

Mattis denied that Iran’s 80 million people belong to a country, calling Iran “a revolutionary cause devoted to mayhem.” The brass hat even made the absurd claim that Iran is in cahoots with the Islamic State group.

Overthrowing Syria’s elected government and confronting Russia are on the “Mad Dog” agenda as well.

The résumé of the future Pentagon boss includes war crimes. In May 2004 Mattis gave the order to bomb a wedding party in the Iraqi village of Mukareeb. Forty-two children and adults were slaughtered. (London Telegraph, Dec. 2)

A month earlier, forces under Mattis’s command attacked the large Iraqi city of Fallujah in retaliation for the deaths of four Blackwater mercenaries. Of the 736 Iraqi people killed, at least 60 percent were children and women, according to journalist Dahr Jamail, who spoke to local doctors. (Huffington Post, Dec. 3)

So it’s no surprise that Mattis wants to keep the U.S. concentration camp at Guantánamo open. His bigoted and hateful views can be seen in the book “Warriors and Citizens: American Views of Our Military,” which he co-edited with Kori N. Schake.

He and Schake criticized “allowing open homosexuals to serve and opening combat assignments to women.” They also claimed that a culture of “victimization” was being created within the military because of attention paid to casualties, suicides and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mattis and Schake even attacked President Barack Obama for being more likely to visit the wounded at Bethesda Naval Hospital than to go to a military base. They claimed too much of the war budget was being spent on “pay and benefits to the detriment of training, equipment and numbers in the force.”

Neither his war crimes nor his reactionary views have stopped newspapers and commentators, including those who opposed Trump, from hailing Mattis as a “warrior intellectual.”

Since Mattis was in active service less than seven years ago, he will need a congressional waiver to become defense secretary. Less than four years ago President Obama fired him from the Pentagon’s Central Command.

But civilian control over the military has become a myth, as Workers World Party Chairperson Sam Marcy pointed out in “Generals over the White House.”

“Wherever the military lays its hands, the more it invests its field of operations with repressive, anti-democratic and totalitarian measures,” wrote Marcy. “Nothing escapes their long, grasping reach.”

Only the people can stop the two mad dogs, Mattis and Trump.

All out to J20Resist Counter-Inauguration!

Find out more at workers.org/j20/