Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Watch Mattis Give US Troops In The Middle East The Ultimate Pep Talk
Hours after President Donald Trump laid out the government's new approach to the 16-year-old U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan on Aug. 21, Secretary of Defense James Mattis arrived in Baghdad to reassure Iraqi political leaders that yes, the fight against ISIS is going swimmingly.
"ISIS is on the run," Mattis said following an Aug. 22 confab with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, according to the Associated Press. "They have been shown to be unable to stand up to our team in combat ... ISIS's days are certainly numbered, but it's not over yet and it's not going to be over anytime soon."
But the next day, Mattis delivered a more casual pep-talk to the Americans service members stationed in Jordan who are actually fighting on the front lines of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria. His remarks, recorded by a service member and posted to Facebook by the mega-popular U.S. Army W.T.F! Moments page, are classic Chaos: Polite and respectful but guaranteed to get combat troops fired up and ready to go.
The secretary of defense opened with his usual dry humor: "My name's Mattis ... I work at the Department of Defense, obviously." But once he had the assembled troops' attention, Mattis dove into the serious stuff:
You get promoted after awhile and you're so remote that you get out touch with those of you that matter. But believe me, I know you're far from home, every one of ya, and I know you could all be going to college, you young people, or you could be back on the block ...
The only way this great big experiment you and I call America is going to survive is we got tough hombres like you. Some of you are too young, Cpl. Walton, but on 9/11 we were up against an enemy that thought if he could hurt us he could scare us, but we don't fricken scare. That's the bottom line.
That "tough hombres" in particular line stands out, if only because it's the same term that Trump used to refer to the drug cartels wreaking havoc in Mexico during the earliest days of his administration. We'll chalk it up to coincidence.
A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.
It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.
Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.
No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.
Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.
"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.
The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.
Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.
In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.
"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.