Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Mattis cautions against war with Iran in first public remarks since leaving the Pentagon
In what appear to be his first public remarks on U.S. national security since his resignation as Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis offered a word of caution to President Donald Trump amid escalating tensions with Iran on Tuesday.
"The United States should buy time to keep peace and stability and allow diplomats to work diplomacy on how to keep peace for one more hour, one more day, one more week, a month or a year," Mattis said during remarks in the United Arab Emirates.
"Iran's behavior must change," Mattis added, "[but] the military must work to buy time for diplomats to work their magic."
In his remarks, entitled 'The Value of the UAE-US Strategic Relationship,' Mattis emphasized diplomacy and cooperation as critical to beating back the rising tide of radical terrorism around the world. Here are the meatiest bits, courtesy of Gulf News:
"We're going to have to work together as nations to respect each other's differences but throughout this terrorism that is growing, it is not going away; it's growing in the other direction, we see it spreading in North Africa, and we see what's going on now as it spreads deeper into South Asia."
"We're going to have to figure out how to do this. We don't have to be perfect nations, each one of us. We're going to have to protect what we have and we all work on our own nations to make them better. But I'm going to be spending a lot of time studying how do we get more nations to work together and see a way for the world with less disparity. If this terrorism continues, eventually there will be a time that the terrorists get their hands on weapons of mass destruction. And we must not let that happen.
'We need to hold fast to each other. We need to engage more with each other."
Mattis's remarks came the day after Trump offered yet another strong warning to Iran following a rocket attack on the heavily-fortified Green Zone in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Monday, an attack that government sources reportedly suspect was carried out by Tehran-connected Shi'ite militias.
"I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything," Trump told reporters that evening. "If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will."
Trump had previously tweeted that any future threats from Iran against the United States would "be the official end of Iran."
Mattis's emphasis on diplomacy is unsurprising despite the 'Mad Dog' moniker he despised. After all, this is the same man who once told Iraqi leaders, "I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I'll kill you all."
Indeed, Mattis was generally in favor of engaging with Iran over President Barack Obama's landmark nuclear accord, a position that put him at odds with Trump.
"If we can confirm that Iran is living by the agreement, if we can determine that this is in our best interest, then clearly, we should stay with it," he told Congress in October 2017, per ABC News. "I believe, at this point in time, absent indications to the contrary, it is something the president should consider staying with."
It's also worth noting that Mattis was perhaps the most cool-headed of the Trump administration's military and natsec advisors. Just consider this colorful anecdote surfaced by the Washington Examiner earlier this month regarding then-national security advisor H.R. McMaster:
[McMaster] was elated to discover an Iranian plot that could provide pretext to attack. McMaster's failed efforts at intervention, including in Syria, point at institutional caution.
After a North Korean missile test in 2017, McMaster sought options for an immediate military attack during a call with then-Defense Secretary James Mattis and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The Cabinet secretaries mistakenly believed that McMaster hung up after speaking, and shared surprisingly frank thoughts, not realizing they were on speakerphone in McMaster's office.
"They thought the White House hung up our side of the phone call," the former official said. "Mattis was like, 'Rex, are you still here?' [Mattis] was like, 'Oh my God, that moron is going to get us all killed. He is an unstable asshole.' McMaster was standing there over his desk. ... He was turning bright red."
Mattis resigned on principle in December 2018 over Trump's sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, telling Trump 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."
WATCH NEXT: Gen. David Petraeus On Iran and Shia Militias
Investigation shows Lt. Col. in charge of Corps' 1st Recon was fired for alleged 'misconduct' but has not been charged
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
That's right, Superman is (at least temporarily) trading in his red cape, blue tights, and red silk underpants for a high and tight, a skivvy shirt and, well, he's still rocking silkies.
A first look at the 'CoD Modern Warfare' reboot shows juggernaut and ghillie suits return to multiplayer
Late last month Activision's Infinity Ward dropped a teaser trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare — a soft-reboot of one of it's most beloved games — and just two weeks after the May 30 reveal, the game developer unveiled some new details on what's in store for the first-person shooter's multiplayer: Juggernaut and ghillie suits!
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Iran says it will exceed limits on its enriched uranium stockpiles agreed in its 2015 nuclear deal, the latest escalation in tensions after the US accused Iran of sabotaging oil tankers last week.
Under the 2015 deal — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — Iran agreed with the Obama administration and several European states to limit uranium production.