After months of hustling through the halls of the Pentagon in search of booze and answers, Task & Purpose will be riding shotgun when Defense Secretary James Mattis visits India. And rather than just ask the usual questions, we’re doing something different: We want to be your direct line to Chaos himself
Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with their Indian counterparts as part of a long-planned event. T&P;’s friendly Pentagon correspondent Jeff Schogol will be one of the many correspondents accompanying the secretary and, in turn, will provide an opportunity to pose readers’ questions to Mattis. If we are granted access to the defense secretary, so should our readers.
Here’s how these trips usually go: Mattis meets with important people and delivers speeches. When he has time, he talks to reporters on his plane en route to the next destination. Most journalists ask about the news of the day, but T&P; doesn’t have to follow the rest of the lemmings into the sea.
This is your chance to ask about any issues that most of the rest of the media could care less about, including personnel issues, strategy, and pay and benefits. Of course, T&P; will file regular dispatches from around the world, including possible video of your bleary-eyed and ragged correspondent unsure of where he is or what time it is. He may actually hallucinate on camera from lack of sleep! For your pleasure! Enjoy!
Please email appropriate questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message Schogol on Twitter. But a fair warning: While we welcome any and all inquiries from our quick-witted and sharp-tongued readers, your beloved Pentagon reporter will not ask Mattis questions that are intentionally stupid, as Mattis would kill him on the spot.
The resulting melee would appear in the official Defense Department transcript as something like this:
Media Availability With Secretary Mattis Somewhere Over The Indian Ocean
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JAMES N. MATTIS: Good afternoon! Let’s take a couple questions and then go off-the-record. I’ll start with the bearded guy with one eyebrow. Has anyone ever told you that you look like the love child of John Belushi and Muqtada al Sadr? (Laughter)
Q: Thank you Mr. Secretary. I have a question from a reader who only identifies himself as 0311Jarhead4Life! This is a difficult issue, so I understand if you don’t want to answer, but he really wants to know if you prefer boxers or briefs.
SEC. MATTIS: ?????
Q: Or, do you go commando (inaudible) ….
SEC. MATTIS: (In Latin) Double Knife Hands!
SEC. MATTIS: I hope that is a lesson to the rest of you. (Laughter).
Note well. Any inappropriate pictures you send will receive a pithy response along the lines of, “Isn’t that cute: A second belly button.”
Jeff Schogol covers the Pentagon for Task & Purpose. He has covered the military for 13 years and embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq and Haiti. Prior to joining T&P;, he covered the Marine Corps and Air Force at Military Times. Comments or thoughts to share? Send them to Jeff Schogol via email at email@example.com or direct message @JeffSchogol on Twitter.