Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
In 2014, Mattis Said What Would Make Him Resign In Protest. In 2018, He Actually Did It
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has resigned in protest of President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw all American troops from Syria, according to The New York Times.
His resignation letter, while critical of the president's views on foreign policy, did not mention Syria, but officials told The Times that Mattis traveled to the White House on Thursday "in a last attempt to convince Mr. Trump to keep American troops in Syria. He was rebuffed, and told the president that he was resigning as a result."
Interestingly, Mattis once revealed what would lead him to resign in protest during an April 2014 talk in San Francisco, and he made it clear that he would only do so under the most dire of circumstances, since his subordinates would not be able to do the same.
"The lance corporals can't retire. They're going. That's all there is to it," he said.
First, some context:
In 2003, Mattis was the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division. He was ordered into Iraq in March and led his division to victory over Baghdad. But privately, he knew going to war against Saddam Hussein probably wasn't the best call.
"I think people were pretty much aware that the US military didn't think it was a very wise idea," he said in 2015, before being named Defense Secretary. "But we give a cheery 'Aye aye, Sir.' Because when you elect someone commander in chief — we give our advice. We generally give it in private."
Mattis, like many other generals before the war, offered his advice to then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the problems of going into Iraq. This frank advice is expected of high-ranking military officers, but ultimately it's up to the civilian leadership to make the decision.
Still, seven retired generals eventually came out publicly against Rumsfeld in 2007 in what was dubbed "the generals' revolt." Mattis, still on active duty at the time, was not among them.
Later, during his April 2014 talk in San Francisco, he was asked specifically about whether there was a scenario in which he may have retired in protest. Mattis allowed some unethical orders and other scenarios that would lead him to do so, but he said, "you have to be very careful about doing that. The lance corporals can't retire. They're going. That's all there is to it."
He added: "You abandon him only under the most dire circumstances, where the message you have to send can be sent no other way. I never confronted that situation."
In Dec. 2018, it looks like he finally did.
“My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances,” Mattis wrote in his resignation letter.
“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”
It has been a deadly year for Green Berets, with every active-duty Special Forces Group losing a valued soldier in Afghanistan or Syria.
A total of 12 members of the Army special operations forces community have died in 2019, according to U.S. Army Special Operations Command. All but one of those soldiers were killed in combat.
In Afghanistan, Army special operators account for 10 of the 17 U.S. troops killed so far this year. Eight of the fallen were Green Berets. Of the other two soldiers, one was attached to the 10th Special Forces Group and the other was a Ranger.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Documents from the Pentagon show that "far more taxpayer funds" were spent by the U.S. military on overnight stays at a Trump resort in Scotland than previously known, two Democratic lawmakers said on Wednesday, as they demanded more evidence from the Defense Department as part of their investigation.
In a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the heads of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee and one of it subcommittees said that while initial reports indicated that only one U.S. military crew had stayed at President Donald Trump's Turnberry resort southeast of Glasgow, the Pentagon had now turned over data indicating "more than three dozen separate stays" since Trump moved into the White House.
QUANTICO, Va. -- Marines who spend much of their day lifting hefty ammunition or moving pallets full of gear could soon get a helping hand.
The Marine Corps is close to signing a deal to test an exoskeleton prototype that can help a single person move as much as several leathernecks combined.
The Air Force is working on a ‘flying car’ to replace the V-22 Osprey — and it could take flight sooner than you think
'Agility Prime' sounds like a revolutionary new video streaming service, or a parkour-themed workout regimen, or Transformers-inspired niche porno venture.
But no, it's the name of the Air Force's nascent effort to replace the V-22 Osprey with a militarized flying car — and it's set to take off sooner than you think.
Task & Purpose is looking for a dynamic social media editor to join our team.
Our ideal candidate is an enthusiastic self-starter who can handle a variety of tasks without breaking a sweat. He or she will own our brand's social coverage while working full-time alongside our team of journalists and video producers, posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (feed, stories, and IGTV), YouTube, and elsewhere.